Embodied Encounters

Opening Reception: Saturday, October 1, 2-5pm

On View Through: October 1, 2016 - January 21, 2017

Closed: November 11, 23 - 26; December 10 - January 3

Featured artists: Rhona Byrne, George Khut, Karen Lancel & Hermen Maat, Alex May, Miriam Simun, and Sha Xin Wei


The Donald R. and Joan F. Beall Center for Art + Technology at UC Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts is pleased to present Embodied Encounters, an inter-media exhibition featuring seven international contemporary artists.

"Embodied Encounters" addresses art-making practices in media arts via the new language of creative cognition. The exhibition demonstrates the philosophical and conceptual ways artists respond to a world made increasingly complex by technology, as well as the evolution of action in artistic creation, and the synergy between materiality and bodily awareness. Through these encounters, we see the divisions between mind and body,self and world dissolve. This phenomenon is highly relevant to contemporary artistic practice as artists become increasingly aware of embodied interaction between intuition, logic, and reason to produce their work.  How does the artist’s consciousness engage in a world comprised of analog, digital, and virtual stimuli? The Beall Center addresses this question through an ambitious, provoking voyage through cognition and intelligence – human and artificial alike.

Rhona Byrne's (Dublin) art practice is site and context specific, as she combines sculpture and spatial environments with performance and processes of participation that explore a negotiation of object, materiality, place and social practice. For "Embodied Encounters," Bryne showcases her "Huddlewear" (2015) - a series of wearable artworks that become a tool for activating exchanges in relationships between individuals, groups and communities. The artworks invite and encourage visitors to wear and inhabit the Huddlewear in order to explore the intimacy and complexities of connection in real time.

George Khut (Sydney) works across the fields of electronic art, interaction design, and arts-in-health as his interactive and participatory artworks use bio-sensing technologies to re-frame experiences of embodiment, health and subjectivity. In his "Cardiomorphologies" (2007)Khut explores the subjective spaces created through interaction with a simple geometric visualization of real-time heart and breath rate data. The installation is comprised of one large floor-to-ceiling video projection that is controlled by heart and breath signals from a participant seated a few meters away.

Artist duo Karen Lancel and Hermen Maat (Amsterdam) explore the tension between embodied presence, intimacy, privacy, and trust in current social-technological systems. They radically invert automated control technologies, bio-feedback and sensory perception, to create “Trust-Systems” for intimate meeting experiences. As such, their "E.E.G. KISS" (2014) data visualization installation investigates how a kiss can be translated into bio-feedback data. Visitors are invited to wear E.E.G. headsets to measure brainwave activity and participate as kissers, voyeurs, and/or EEG data scanners.

Alex May (Brighton) works in a wide range of digital technologies, most notably video projection onto physical objects (building on the technique known as video mapping or projection mapping by using his own bespoke software), in order to draw attention to public engagement and social robotics. "Shadows of Light" (2011) is an interactive video projection installation that uses the outline of the viewer(s) as a spray paint stencil causing their silhouette to slowly appear in front of them. The longer they remain static, the more pronounced their image is. However, the “paint” will start to drip, spread, and merge with the traces of the viewers who have stood there before.

Among Miriam Simun's (New York) chief concerns are attending to sensorial, embodied forms of knowledge; exploring the messy complexities and contradictory poetics residing at the intersection of nature, culture, and power; and developing the means to imagine alternate futures. Using her "Adōrō" (2014-2016) works, Simun performs "The Farewell To All That One Has Used, Broken, Lost Must Be Ennobled By Ceremony" (2016), which acts as a “ritual device” that emits the never-before-perceived scent of an endangered flower that blooms only one day per year.

Finally, Sha Xin Wei's (Tempe) work ranges from gestural media, movement arts, and realtime media installation through interaction design to critical studies and philosophy of technology. In "Time Lenses" (2016), he - along with collaborators Todd Ingalls and Julian Stein - created an installation of multiple displays and cameras that are carefully placed in a physical location to refract activity into a suite of rhythmically recomposed movements. The work is not a performance but the condition of performance: live video processing instruments will augment the space so that any activity - rehearsed or unrehearsed, quotidian or marked - will refract into a suite of projections, each revealing a different temporal or rhythmic aspect of the corporeal activity within the space.

Co-Curated by David Familian (Artistic Director, Beall Center) and Simon Penny (Professor, Digital Cultural Practices, Embodied Interaction and Interactive Art), Embodied Encounters will take place in conjunction with UCI’s upcoming conference, Body of Knowledge: Embodied Cognition and the Arts(December 8-10, 2016); a three-day event focusing on new discourses around arts practices that deal with emerging paradigms of Embodied (and Enactive, Situated, Distributed, Extended) cognition. 

For press inquiries, images, private/group tours, and special events, please contact:

Catlin Moore / Programs Manager / cmoore@uci.edu / 949-824-6206


October 01, 2016 to January 21, 2017
Opening Reception: 
October 1, 2016 - 2:00pm
Curated By: 
David Familian & Simon Penny
Press Release: 
Rhona Byrne
George Khut
Karen Lancel & Hermen Maat
Alex May
Miriam Simun
Sha Xin Wei