Felt Histories (re: the fact of a doorframe)
15 January – 5 March 2000
in Gairloch Gardens
Curated by Su Ditta
Felt Histories (re: the fact of a doorframe) is a computer interactive sound and video installation in which the viewer’s touch and proximity activates the piece. Created by award-winning new media artist Thecla Schiphorst, and premiered at Vancouver’s Artspeak Gallery in October 1998, Felt Histories challenges the prevailing ‘point, click and drag’ type of interactive technology. The artist incorporates motion and pressure sensors in a constructed scenario that utterly transforms ambient space, light and sound. The site of interaction is a doorway covered by a silk scrim, behind which appears the life-size image of an older woman waiting silently with her back to the gallery visitor. This scene of silence and stillness can be transformed by the viewer’s active presence, which initiates motion and response from the ghostly woman. Thus, the nature of the piece is experiential, drawing upon physiological as well as aesthetic or intellectual responses. The artist combines sight and touch in order to address notions of sexuality and desire within the aging body. Coming from a background in contemporary dance and computer programming, Schiphorst is able to bring technical expertise into the aesthetic arena – thus allowing for the possibility of an intuitively guided and genuinely creative interface between body and machine. Schiphorst’s fresh and sensuous use of technology suggests new potential for thinking about human desire.
Based in Vancouver, Thecla Schiphorst was the 1998 winner of The Canada Council-PetroCanada Award in New Media, an award presented once every two years to a Canadian artist for their contribution to New Media Arts practice.