Featured Student: Abigail Stiers

Submitted by Sarah.Lou on Mon, 01/10/2011 – 11:20am

My work often uses technology to draw attention to the experience of thinking, while exploring relationships between the body, language, thought and the environment. Inevitably the work also explores how technology and interactivity affect perception. I am interested in thought as connected to bodies and situations, individual experiences of concentration, shifts in focus, transference of learning and the ways that ongoing participation in physical processes or attention to specific aspects of the environment can affect thought processes.

Because I am skeptical of elevating concepts or allowing rhetoric to overshadow what actually happens in the work, I take small steps to carefully assure that both the process of making the work and process of experiencing the work, reshape and transform the concepts present in the work. Considering the emphasis on embodiment in my work, it would be counterproductive to treat the materials as ancillary to some disembodied concept. Therefore, ideas for works come from other works and from experiments.

Early works explore the way that experiences and context attune people to filter reality. While working on these projects, I spent my days manipulating sensor data to accurately track the movements of viewers for interactive installations. I became aware parallels between the ideas in the early work and the way sensors function, which are always focused on one parameter. Later works explore the idiosyncrasies of sensing systems. In several pieces, sensors to draw attention to particular aspects of the environment or to changes in the body or state of mind. Recent works and works in progress deal more explicitly with learning and with changes that take place over periods of time, when viewing or repeatedly viewing these works.

Below is a link to a video of a recent work titled Minor Rhythms Within/Skin Response, 2010, 2009.  Wood, electronics, copper paper, ink, audio, approx. 18 x 6 x 6 inches.  Changes in skin resistance rearrange words from a text, while affecting how marks are drawn on a strip of paper to draw attention to experiential awareness of changes in the body and how this awareness affects listening.

Abigail’s work can be found at abigailstiers.com