ASU Digital Culture Gallery

2013.10.21 / Gaia


From tales of old we've come to know Gaia as the progenitor, the creator of gods and inspirer/torturer of man. She is the unmoved mover; the mother of what we know and hold to be true. Gaia, by Nicole Williams and Sylvie Blum is an interactive experience designed to explore Mother Earth's presence within an engineered world. Incorporating pressure sensitive surfaces, photography, animation and sculpted texturized plastics, Gaia blurs distinctions between the physical and the digital. Force sensitive sensors are embedded into hand sculpted frames that outline animations projected atop gallery walls. Visitors are invited to grasp these 'frames,' pressing and squeezing the forms and controlling the animations.

Gaia is a part in a series of works that act as catalysts for a material-based parergon. The parergon is best described in Derridian semiotics as the experiential conflict between a frame and a work of art. When we look at a painting we take the frame to be part of the wall, yet when we look at the wall the frame is taken to be part of the painting. The paragon is a phenomenon that explores the relationship between the interior and the exterior and Gaia offers an interpretation of the parergon resulting from the inclusion of graspable and intelligent materials atypical to the technological design space.

Nicole Williams is a PhD student in Media Arts + Sciences at ASU in the department of Arts Media + Engineering. She researches the design and development of interactive media systems with a focus upon materiality and tactile feedback. She examines how material substrates can be utilized to communicate, house and display data in its varied forms. Her work is founded upon the matrix of leveraging cutaneous and motor-sensory bio-feedback systems with devices designed to be tactually expressive for use in engineered, or “smart,” environments.

Austrian-born Sylvie Blum started a career in modeling prior taking the helm as a photographer. She grew up in Germany. As a child she knew that she wanted to be an artist. Her interest in art, fashion, architecture, design, pop art, music, movie making and photography became lifelong passions. She lives and works in Los Angeles in her WhiteBox studio. In 2011 her book Naked Beauty was published by teNeues and distributed worldwide. Her show Naked Beauty opened in May 2012 together with iconic photographer Herb Ritts at the Fahey Klein Gallery Los Angeles. Sylvie Blum is represented by Fahey Klein Gallery Los Angeles.

The Digital Culture Gallery is located in the B-Wing of Stauffer Hall, Room #B102, on the ASU Tempe campus.

Gallery days/hours - Monday through Thursday 12pm - 2pm.