In 1971, I created "Disintegration and Re-creation of Objects within a Sequential Time Period" (1). I was still very interested in sculptural issues and issues of time. I chose to engage the viewer as a galvanized participant where installation becomes the stage and s/he an actor. In this way, the audience actually mentally and physically plays a dynamic role in the completion of the work. The work itself progressed from a focus on the audience interaction with the physical object (documented with video) to the disintegration of the object and presentation of the memory of that interaction.
It concluded with a closed-circuit video work which acted as a reaffirmation of the physical existence of the viewer in the present, but also as a reminder of its transitory nature. The resulting output was as diverse as the individuals who partook, the dynamics between them and the way they chose to engage with the work. Closed-circuit video first became the focus of my work in 1972-3 with "camera as audience only performances watching monitor" (2).
I was very interested in utilizing it as a means to explore various aspects of human interaction. The work can be best understood as a combination of performance and installation with a ceremonial/ritual/magical blend, rather than aesthetic and decorative. The exciting results led me to want to dive deeper into the realms of depicting unconscious levels of communication. So in 1974 I created "BrainWaveDrawing LA" (3). With my brainwave projects, ultimately, I am a cartographer, gathering data, recording it and rendering it accessible to the audience in a visual form. It is a voyage through the mind. The success of this project led me to continue this line of study with "Video Telemetry Environment" in 1975 (4).
In 1992, "BrainWave Drawing" (16) was benchmark piece. A closed-circuit monitor inside the front window of the gallery in the South Bronx displays two people communicating via their brainwaves as they watch their physical image dissolve with their mental communication. People on the street and in the gallery could see this. This is the first time that all the questions (physical space inside and out of the gallery, the communication between the two participants, charting the brainwaves and a passive audience) came together. Suddenly, the Internet became a possibility allowing me a means to transcend physical space and broaden my palette. I was eager to explore the possibilities of going remote.
In 1998, the process became more insular again. "Connecting the Dots Banff" (21) and "Web SÈance NY/Banff'Web SÈance NY/Banff Closed-circuit" (22) marked the first time that I directed the actual thoughts of the audience. Closed-circuit video has been the catalyst in my exploration-inward and outward, physical and mental-for exploring dynamics between the self and the other, acknowledging the audience as active participants in the work, and the world as my stage.
Joined through telepresence, participants at separate physical locations see each other, and transmit brainwaves and other human factors through the Internet; the real-time convergence of this information flow creates a shared sensory enviroment for them, and for public particpants on the Web.
Thinking of You explores
the space between thought and experience in a cyber and physical installation
that draws upon the social nature of the brain's electrochemistry, as
it reveals a deeper understanding into our internal dialogue made visible.
"The difference between Thinking of You and other previous Brain Wave Drawings is that it occurs in remote locations, with an audio and visual representation of participants appearing as one collaborative image on the Web. Web Seance: Brainwave Drawings was close, with people being able to virtually participate, but the people who were connected to electroencephalographs were seeing their own output compared with one other person's, in audio and visual form including their heartbeats." Nina Sobell
from the electro-encephalograph's electrodes are conducted through any
computer to an essential server, summated with others from related remote
locations, and then utilized to orchestrate real-time sound and light
sculpture, which is the interactive dimension from the participants."