See It, Hear It, Be ItGAMBIER, Ohio (November 2, 2007) Visitors at the Olin Art Gallery will become part of the interactive, multi-media artwork of Claudia Esslinger, professor of art.
Esslinger brings "The Synergy Project" to the gallery on Thursday, November 8, with a talk and video presentation by the artist at 7:30 p.m. in Higley Hall, followed by an opening reception in the gallery. The exhibit continues through December 15 on the Kenyon campus.
The exhibit includes three audio and video works true to the artist's vision of involving the viewer in the completion of a piece. "I think that in today's world we have to question what authorship is really about," Esslinger said. "Authorship is never an individual act void of context. To directly involve the viewer acknowledges that."
Her work is built on intellectual underpinnings that are energized by a "visceral, intuitive approach." In this exhibit she explores the tension between nature and technology in the context of what she calls magical realism.
The exhibit includes these works:
The title piece The Synergy Project is an interactive installation in which visitors are invited to select images and sounds, changing speed and volume to create sequences of "chance association." Esslinger explores the way narratives change "through the shifting juxtaposition of elements."
SPoems is structured around poetry written by Esslinger from a type of e-mail spam that includes unconnected but related lists of words. Esslinger created poetry by "letting words collide and adding connective tissue." A visual projection shows original spam content, gathered and arranged. The audio portion includes actors reading the poems. Viewers interact with the piece by controlling the speed of voice and image.
Searching for the Aurora is a video sculpture based on the G.C. Waldrep poem "We Searched for the Aurora." Waldrep, a former visiting assistant professor of English at Kenyon, can be heard reading the poem.
"In the time that I have known her, Claudia has worked to evince relationships between nature, technology and power," gallery director Dan Younger said. "She works intuitively and suggestively across media, combining video installation and palpable sculptural elements and materials, still images, language, voice, and sound." Esslinger's recent work has become increasingly interdisciplinary, collaborative, and technologically based, he said.
Some images in the exhibit are drawn from Esslinger's recent artist residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, Calif., an artists' retreat in the Marin Headlands in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Esslinger's recent media festivals and exhibitions include: Athens Film and Video Festival; Humboldt Film Festival; Big Muddy Film Festival; Fluctuating Images, Contemporary Media Art, Stuttgart, Germany; Weston Gallery, Aronoff Center for the Arts, Cincinnati, Ohio; Greenville College, Indiana; McDonough Museum, Youngstown State University; Center for the Visual Arts, University of Toledo; and Myers School of Art, University of Akron. She has received six Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence awards.