Without Borders XV Artist Spotlight: Alicia Champlin

Without Borders XV: Between You and Me will be open 17th The festival will showcase the work of UMaine Intermedia MFA candidates Alicia Champlin, Kate Dawson, Eleanor Kipping and Wade Warman. Between You and Me will run from May 17th to June 30th with an opening reception on Thursday, May 17th at 5:00 p.m. at Lord Hall Gallery. The opening reception will also be followed by a performance by Alicia Champlin in the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center AP/PE Space at 7:30 p.m. withoutbordersfest.com

Artist Spotlight: Alicia Champlin

Alicia Champlin is based in Orono, Maine, having also made homes of Portland, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; Tokyo, Japan; and the American deep South. However, she is most at home while traveling the world in search of new experiences (and buried treasure). She is currently located in Orono, Maine, with frequent trips to Barcelona, while on the final stretch to defending her MFA thesis this summer.

Champlin has exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo shows in Orono (Maine, USA) and Barcelona (Spain). In addition to performing, she also presents her research and custom interfaces in hands-on workshops and demonstrations of open-source technologies.

Drawing upon an academic background in Critical Methodologies and Japanese/Buddhist Art History, and a professional history in data processing and web technologies, Champlin joined the University of Maine’s Intermedia MFA program in 2015. Much of Champlin’s research prior to 2015 centered around pilgrimage, travel, and landscape as ways to communicate identity and make sense of our social environments. Aiming to be more than a tourist, she has visited sacred and secular destinations, followed pilgrimage routes, and taken on the role of pilgrim, seeker, and pathfinder.


Since beginning her MFA studies, Champlin’s research & creative practices have come to focus on feedback-driven, generative systems in pursuit of the phenomenological intersection of networked communication and identity. Drawing influence from the provocations of Alvin Lucier, Nam June Paik, Marina Abramović, and mentor N.B.Aldrich, her work aims to explore issues of agency, authorship, neutrality, and truth with process-based, interactive methodologies.

Currently, Champlin is working with biometric data as an interventionary control mechanism in live video and audio feedback loops. During her 2017 residency at Hangar Interactive Labs, she developed EEG and ECG instruments with Max/MSP for use in generative performance installations.

In 2006, I completed the ‘Shikoku 88’ pilgrimage in Japan. By forcing me to learn an entirely new way of navigating the world, this seven-week walking experience changed the way I think about how people perceive and participate in the construction of their language, culture, environment, and selfhood. My research places these questions of perception and participation in the context of the communication networks and feedback loops of our contemporary systems-based paradigm. My recent artworks have explored themes of signal transfer, meaning-making, self-regulating networks, and hive mind intelligence with the aim of raising questions about how we perceive our Selves and our surroundings.

I choose to work with generative systems because this is a framework which allows me to focus my creative practice on process, so that my compositions become an actualization of the inquiry and the final output is an emergent/indeterminate result of the composition. Generative systems speak directly to the paradigm in which my questions exist. Within this experimental framework, I am able to integrate a wide variety of different media (electronics, video, sound, performance, installation) and modes of thinking (eastern, western, aesthetic, academic, intuitive) to compose systems that operate across multiple conceptual landscapes and self-articulate their own questions (and sometimes answers).

My research takes shape in refining the fundamental questions of my practice. Ideas, concepts, and materials are tested against these questions to make sure that their inherited histories, aesthetic frameworks, and symbolic content all directly support the inquiry. Metaphor is to be avoided and a reductionist rubric is applied to every design decision to minimize semiotic pollution. The resulting system is ideally the simplest, most literal embodiment of the problem, which is then free to generate its own complexity, modeling the behavior of real-world networks and feedback loops.

Some recurring themes in my work include artificial life modeling, social media, biohacking, zen philosophy, agency and authorship. As I weave these threads together with networked communication as a model, the systematic outcome is the evolution and emergence of a generative performance practice.

Visit aliciachamplin.cartographile.com/ to learn more about Alicia’s work.

Without Borders XV: Between You and Me gallery artist Alicia ChamplinAlicia Champlin, I Am Sitting