GRAZIELE LAUTENSCHLAEGER On what, how and why I have been spending time and energy in this life

GRAZIELE LAUTENSCHLAEGER

Self-portrait of an absence

in collaboration with Edgar Alvarenga, Radamés Ajna, Caterina Renaux Hering and 3DMIN (Research group of the Universität der Künste Berlin).

exhibitions
July, 11th 2018 at Museo del Traje, Madrid, Spain in the occasion of the 6th Conference on Computation, Communication, Aesthetics & X >>>  xCoAx 2018
Premiered on Oct,13th 2016 at Design Transfer Berlin / Universität der Künste in the occasion of the 3DMin Simposium

Self-portrait of an absence (2016) is a participative performance based on the partial visual impairment of the artist, who has a blind eye. Technically, the artwork consists of an eye-tracking system programmed to generate and process sounds according to data collected from the asynchronous movements of both eyes. The artist offers passers-by in public or semi-public spaces an observing-listening aesthetic experience under an umbrella, where sound-emitting loudspeakers are hung. The artist’s initial motivation was curiosity to discover something about the apparently random behaviour of her blind eye. This impetus was reinforced by the coincidence that Vilém Flusser, whose writings have influenced her understanding of electronic and digital media, was also monocular. The performance was created as a methodological tool for her practice-based PhD research on photosensitive matter in media history. It is an experiment that addresses the confrontation between organic and machinic elements (eye and camera) and the possible paths in light-to-sound translations.

Artist’s comments on the piece:
Exploring the freedom of playing between the abstract and concrete worlds, Self-portrait of an absence is a poetic experiment around “sensing and making sense in absence”. Vilém Flusser, whose writings enlightened me on understanding the specificities of digital media, had a blind eye. So do I. This coincidence encouraged me to explore creatively the absence of vision regarding issues strongly present in his work. I took advantage of my blind eye to practice a flusserian dialogue, translating both light into sound and a personal characteristic into an universal experience.

Challenging the dichotomy between form and function, the work sonifies the deviation of my eyes, generating images that go beyond visuality. The images-soundscapes are uniquely composed at each shared promenade. Communicating living and machinic systems, the project is an attempt to make tangible the mutual influence of nature and culture.

I did not aim to develop a steampunk GoogleGlass, rather a device able to grasp the symbolic level of relationships between body and technology, and concluded addressing the notion of absence in different levels: From my partial blindness to the zero-dimensionality of electronic and digital media.

Here you can see a video of the project when it was conceptualized:

Technical solutions documented at GitHub.

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