Ubiquitous States. 2015
The concept of the work is originated from the 1928 The Conquest of Ubiquity by Paul Valéry. “The amazing growth of our techniques, the adaptability and precision they have attained, the ideas and habits they are creating, make it a certainty that profound changes are impending in the ancient craft of the Beautiful.”
Veléry’s The Conquest of Ubiquity can describe the current state of our techno-obsessed culture where our tools of precision have changed our behaviors. Today, these tools are primarily our screens (smart phones, tablets, computers, etc.). They give us the ability to download, text, talk, and interact anywhere with the surface of the skin and surface of the computer. Thus, we are living in both the physical and the simulated world simultaneously. This simulation (that has been described by Baudrillard) can effect our presence in the world. That is, we are not fully engaged. Instead, we are hiding behind our devices. This questions the authenticity of our behaviors using these vernacular technologies. In Ubiquitous States, the performance will unite the heartbeats of both artist and the participant and will measure our emotional connections through the virtual. In Ubiquitous States, the performance will question, can we have authentic human connections using today’s vernacular technology?
Ubiquitous States is an interactive performance that combines live heartbeats into a data visualization by new media performance artist Tiffany Trenda, 3D Systems (the largest specialized 3D printing company) and designer Janne Kyttanen. Trenda donned a 3D printed dress that has an embedded computer screen. The image on the screen will show a data visualization of both the participant’s and Trenda’s heartbeat.
During the performance, the artist will approach a spectator and place a heart monitor (located at Trenda’s fingertip inside the glove) on the viewer’s wrist.. Once the sensor reads the pulse of the user, the imagery on the screen will change and show both pulses simultaneously. Trenda and the viewer will try and match their rhythms’.
Proximity Cinéma. 2013
“Proximity Cinéma” is a live performance based off of the 1968 artwork by Valie Export called “Tap and Touch Cinéma”. Waltraud Hollinger (the artist) wore a cardboard box with a curtain. This allowed the public to touch her breasts. Hollinger would also look deep into the eyes of the person in front of her while they caressed her bare skin. The performance commented on the male gaze in cinematic history and how it created the fetishized woman. That is, the female body in cinema was objectified for male pleasure and Hollinger explored this obsession in her performances.
While Hollinger comments on the gaze of the cinema, Trenda focused on the objectification of the female body through cell phones. Instead of the male’s gaze, women are now creating images for the Internet’s gaze by posting self portraits on social media.
Not only has the notion of the gaze changed throughout cinematic history, but the idea of touch has been challenged. Originally “touch,” meant skin-to-skin. Now it refers to human to screen contact using our smart phones, iPads, or tablets. Therefore, our devices are transforming our words, our behaivors, and our interactions.
Artist Tiffany Trenda proposed to create a similar intimate experience as Hollinger’s but instead of a cardboard box, she used cell phone screens. The audience was given the opportunity to either touch her body or a screen. More often, the audience preferred to touch a monitor. So, we feel more comfortable in touching a screen rather then the human body/ female body.
Trenda created a synthetic suit with thirty-eight small 2.6” LCD screens. The images on these devices would change by either touching the screens or from the proximity sensors found on the suit. Using the touch screen, the audience would see images of her body. Depending on how close they were to the artist, different text would read on the monitors including: “Go Ahead”, “It’s OK”, and “Don’t Worry About It”. During the performance, she would hug, caress, and touch the public.
Body Code. 2012
Body Code is a live performance by Tiffany Trenda that conceptually focuses on the obsession of acquiring information. That is, we are constantly downloading, taking pictures and video. This constant data collecting changes the way we experience the world around us. Sigmund Freud once said “screen memory is a substitute for something else”. In relation to our devices today (cell phones, computers, etc.) we are substituting our visceral experiences for a recorded one. We are no longer remembering the actual event. Instead, we are sifting through our captured data and remembering the screen memory.
During the Body Code performance, the audience scans a printed QR code found on Trenda’s white latex suit. This scan will take them to a certain page found on the Body Code website (www.bodycodeart.com). Depending on where the viewer scans, they will read Google searches consisting of two key words: data and the corresponding part of the body eye, muscle, throat, etc.
Note: The text above was written by the Artist. No modification was made by C.O.C.A.
Tiffany Trenda is a performance artist based out of Los Angeles. She received her BFA from Art Center College of Design and her MFA from UCLA. Trenda won Artist of the Year at the London International Creative Competition Awards and was invited to perform at the World Expo, in Shanghai, China. She also performed at LACMA, Scope Art Fair, A+D Museum, Context Art Miami, LACE, and the Boulder Contemporary Art Museum. Trenda was included in the Metamorphoses of the Virtual during the 55th annual Venice Biennale. In 2016, Trenda performed at The Broad Art Museum and exhibited at the Faena Art Center in Buenos Aires. Last year she exhibited at Laboratorio Arte Alameda in Mexico City and was on a panel at SXSW. Recently, her work was included in “Neotopia” at Art Center Nabi in South Korea.