Friday, January 27, 2012

Lia Cook / California, USA

I work in a variety of media combining weaving with painting, photography, video and digital technology. My current practice explores the sensuality of the woven image and the emotional connections to memories of touch and cloth. Working in collaboration with neuroscientists, I am investigating the nature of the emotional response to woven faces by mapping in the brain these responses.  I use the laboratory experience with both process and tools to stimulate new work in reaction to these investigations. I am interested in both the scientific study as well as my artistic response to these unexpected sources, exploring the territory between scientific investigation and artistic interpretation. 

In one response, I have included in a current traveling exhibition of my work a participatory behavioral study (voluntary). I will be collecting data for scientific analysis at the same time as my audience is engaging directly with the work. I will be looking at the nature of the emotional response to a woven face when compared to the original photograph.
My residency in Paris was a number of years ago (early 90's) although I have traveled and exhibited in France over the years. At the time of the residency I was working with similar concepts that I am today, that of touch, cloth and sensuality of the woven image. Much of my time was spent in Museums looking at the history of painting. I used details from paintings of different historical periods that show the touch of the hand on cloth or touch of cloth on the body. Several series of works growing from that research were "Point of Touch" and "Material Pleasures". A further series of draped cloths with images of hands touching cloth drawn from video stills titled "Presence-Absence" followed. Gradually I moved from parts of the body to faces.  The integration of a face or part of the face with the tactile woven translation brought a more intense emotional experience and it is the nature of that experience that I am currently exploring in the field of neuroscience.

As I continue to work with neuroscientists, I expect to find new ways to collaborate and new connections in our work.

Recently I began using DSI, Diffusion Spectrum Imaging of the brain and TrackVis software from Harvard to look at the fiber connections of communication between different parts of my brain and to integrate these fiber tracks with the actual fiber connections that make up the woven translation of an image.  

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