Curated by Viv Qiu
This exhibition is about bodies: changing bodies, moving bodies, bodies from a distance, any body, our bodies, no body, Queer bodies, post-traumatic bodies...¹ Skin Garden is a collection of artworks discussing bodies: through movement, space, sound, self, and fellow bodies. Skin Garden is body language. The three rooms inside this lobby present digital reflections on our physical vessels: as they relate to trauma, language, queerness, tradition, and multiplicity.
¹ Borrowed from Tooba Greer Williams', sound artist of this space.
Candice Saint Williams is a Black queer multimedia artist based in New York City, with an emphasis in sculpture, fiber, and sound. Their process is an exploratory approach in praise of forms, materials and craft traditionally recognized as humble as foundation, storytelling, and collaboration also play a dynamic role. Dismantling domestic motifs from their every day applications informs the artist's work; to challenge their mundane and seemingly concrete design functionality echoes with a spirit of multidimensionality centering identity and experience.
An exercise aimed at developing a duality in their process, in contrast to the intricate nature of their interwoven textile sculptures (e.G., dula umblagata, 2017), produced Tooba Greer Williams, a hyper-improvisational musical concept.
Tooba Greer Williams personifies stream-of-consciousness with illogical, associative, and non-linear lyrical structures. Saint Williams describes it as “bedroom punk”, a nod toward escaping from preciousness in exchange for impulsion, a character trapped in fantasy and unbound. Tooba Greer Williams is a practice of healing via sonic embodiment.
Kushagra is a visual artist with a graphic design background. His works are an appreciation of form, colours and textures, through graphic explorations that seek to represent a dialogue between the organic and the synthetic. Natural phenomena are a big inspiration to his work, and emulations of those with digital technology fascinate him.
Curated by Viv Qiu and Venus in Foil
This room articulates the experience of becoming unhinged: exploring the ways unruly aesthetic experiences disrupt the borders of flesh and shake loose the psychic debris left by trauma. Here, the queer dynamics of raving offer the club as a site to sound out the affective afterlife of psychic injury.
This space summons queer affects through the voices, breath, and movements of queer people: the collective residues of trauma. Taipei-based sound artist Betty Apple weaves together samples of queer breath and voice to deconstruct and reconstruct Venus in Foil’s anthropological research of the rave space. Betty's soundscape is brought to life through IOR50's choreographed sculpture, whose movements represent an assemblage of queer bodies, sourced from motion capture data in their queer movement database.
Bodies Unhinge is a digital manifestation of queerness exceeding capture. Here, sound-waves and pixels articulate the unruly atmosphere of the rave, theorized by Venus in Foil, sounded out by Betty Apple, and danced by IOR50.
Betty Apple comes from a millennium generation of avant-garde artists in Taiwan.
Betty Apple’s work focuses on using body politics and performativity as her framework and drawing on her lived experience as a millennial living in post-colonial Taiwan, Her aim is to study the chaotic and hysterical "noise text" that is created from input to output, distorted by dynamics introduced by humans as well as objects. The main idea is to symbolize what is repressed by the seemingly perfect/accurate sound of science and patriarchy.
Founded by Giusy Amoroso and Sam Aldrige, IOR50 is a studio based in the multiverse in which we exist. Focusing on Art Direction, Animation & Visual Effects, they develop creative technology solutions using biased rendering, real-time engines, and experimental approaches.
IOR50 manages a queer motion capture archive, capturing the movements of queer people around the world. This is a free, open-source library that was used to guide the movements of their sculpture in the exhibition, adjusting them to fit the queer affects sounded out by Betty Apple.
Curated by Viv Qiu and Salomé Chatriot
Reconsider Flesh is a non-chronological, anti-categorical spectrum of digital bodies. This breathing sculpture garden houses virtual representations of skin, flesh, and bone inside a breathing, organic grotto sculpted by Salomé Chatriot. Move through as you navigate the walls Salomé sculpted by capturing data from measuring breathing.
These bodies are layered with Bella Baguena's distorted readings of Gordon Hall's Why I Don't Talk about 'The Body', a polemic on the turn-of-phrase "The Body" and the damaging effects of such language in the english-speaking art world. This space is an embodiment of the multiplicity of flesh, one that Gordon states is too often substituted with the singular verbiage: "The Body." Drawing from her shared experience of "having" a 'trans body,' as it were, Bella Baguena sounds out Gordon's theory inside this fleshy assemblage.
Reconsider Flesh carves out a space for just some of the bodies excluded when multitudes are reduced to a monolith.
Salomé Chatriot is a contemporary artist and a mutimedia interaction designer.
As an artist, her work focuses on the creation of physical and virtual spaces: she builds machines and installations where electronic sculptures and digital images coexist. Fascinated by the way science treats body[ies] through data-oriented objectivity, she uses potential futures and new technologies to shape a fluid, digital and precious identity.
In disagreement with the techno-negative attitude, the ecosystems she produces always bear the mark of a certain healing. The well-being she wishes to transmit often involves the real-time diffusion of organic flows such as breathing, circulation of liquids and [al] chemical transformations. In her artistic creations, the process is as important as the result: experimenting and manipulating physical, electronic, digital and virtual materials in the manner of a scientist; with rigour and precision.
Matthieu Jacquet writes about Chatriot's research in Numéro, february 20219: "Anxious to counteract the coldness of the mechanical, the virtual image and the prefabricated, she strives to wrap her creations with the poetry of her universe and the formal softness of her living beings".
The images produced by the artist are indeed hybrid and oscillate between biological elements and chromed engines. The coldness of the mechanisms is toned down by the soft colors, pale pinks that evoke the skin, by textures that recall organs and muscular tissues, while the continuous transformation of her substances reflect the involuntary muscular activity of the body, the microscopic cellular life and the liquid heart of the earth.
Bella Báguena is a Spanish trans non binary woman working with music, performance, jewelry and other media. Bella centers her artistic production in a gender self-examination and an intuitive, emotional process. Using her voice, body movement and identity, as well as objects, spaces and technologies, Bella creates sound, video, sculptural or performative pieces in which the emotional charge and thought load of the trans woman's identity becomes the key signature.
Bella’s production works in a nomadic creative process; the disciplines she will be working with depend on her interests and needs of the moment, and possibilities the environment offers, using intuition, motivation and curiosity as a process of learning and creating. Her artistic proposals navigate in between lots of different resources, creating a rich composition of ideas; sourcing from the pop imagery and music and internet culture, to nature, to bodily experience. Organic textures, lights, sound reverbs, the sea and water, hormones, tears, lesbian love stories, the pleasure of the food, or even the trauma coming of misogynist oppression, in public and private spaces, of the trans feminine bodies. Real things that make the Daylife a true, emotional and creative experience.
Bella’s objective is the close connection of the emotional experience between her and the spectator, an honest channel to communicate, in which no matter if the tools used are the words and the language, the body expression, or the energy of the voice. The objective is to make the spectator aware of her story and her experience, never letting an artistic production escape its original emotional purpose. Bella communicates something with a creative language, through a trans feminine experience, something that probably we could not understand otherwise.
BORA is a French-born multidimensional artist whose practice spans animation, performance, music, sculpture and painting. The worlds she creates are an expansion of her inner space – they shape and figure her emotions when words cannot. Her universe is an immersion into an organic process, where you can hear a human being and its inner bodily and mental ﬂuctuations. Through her audiovisual universe she explores layers of identity, captures ﬂesh, its core and unconscious mechanisms. Her quest is to create and unravel a safe space for digital intimacy, and digital humanism. BORA is a ritual, an attempt on existence.
Vitória creates digital and visual narratives that permeate techniques such as: creation of 3D avatars, filters in augmented reality and immersive environments. She uses the digital environment as a means to explain investigations and current issues that her subconscious is experiencing. The artist investigates the unfolding behaviors of new visual / social technologies and transposes her thoughts through the immateriality present in the digital.
Italian CGI designer focusing on computer imagery interlocking feelings of the human sphere and the relationship between the real self and the digital alter-ego. Technology is not neutral, we live inside what we create and it lives inside us as well. We live in a world of digital connections, and it matters which ones we build and which ones we destroy. Hardmetacore’s practice focuses also on the grotesque side of beauty and how technology changes the way we perceive the human body.
Mengki is a bedroom-insomniac, dance floor-hypersomniac, 3D Artist. Driven by her passion for digital entertainment, Mengqi started activating in Shanghai’s underground music scene and became a resident for a thriving queer party, HTTP. Following her passion in the arts and experimental spaces in entertainment, Mengki recently moved to Cologne in search of more interactive manifestations of her practice.
Space distorts as human beings try to find a place to inhabit. The perception of geometry that surrounds it, is constantly building or deconstructing a different reality, where we are all trying to create our sense of place. Graphics, nature-inspired textures and futuristic worlds comprise the work of Victoria Campobello; also known as VXN. Abstract shapes & amorphous forms coexist in highly textured images that blend in three dimensional space.
Débora Silva is a Portuguese born-and-bred freelance visual artist, currently living in London.
Although Silva specialises in digital art, her work is inspired by the traditional processes of sculpture and primarily revolves around an embodiment of a creature she calls Venus. Venus is an ethereal being; an unknown femme entity, unconventional and powerful, forming a three-dimensional dissident often taking on different forms. Venus creates a narrative that unfolds with its circumstances. By registering “the singular”, Venus represents a collective identity which is returned to reality by the new media, further acquiring new meanings as it passes through time alongside society.
Silva’s creative process in the virtual space frees her subjects from physical matter, becoming an exercise untethered in the exploration of form. The representation of reality within Silva’s virtual world makes it complicit and critical of contemporary society.
Harriet Davey (She/Her) is a 3D Artist, Graphic Designer, and AR creator based across London and Berlin. Obsessed with questioning what it means to be fluid and human in a digital world, her work examines and interrogates the ugly and the beautiful; the maximum and the minimum; the online and the offline.
Skyler Pham is a queer sculptor and digital artist based in South Louisiana. Their work explores issues of gender dysphoria and sexuality through the distortion of the human form. Pham's "inhumanoid" 3D figures are varied and fluid, often containing heavily distorted and asymmetrical proportions. Some are covered in bulbous growths, while others are emaciated and hollow. These variations speak to the fluid and chaotic nature of gender.
Nadya Plyamko is Ukrainian artist. Using the tools of surrealism, she explores the relationship between the outer and inner worlds, the phenomenon of distortion of the basic emotional needs of man and the objectification of reality. By implementing the decorative plastics of flat graphics into narrative 3D reliefs and short 3D animations, she creates sensual ways of visual disclosure of stories. Her favorite forms lie at the intersection of fairy tales, everyday life and classical art.
Teresa Rofer is a visual artist whose work investigates, from an experimental perspective, the expressive and formal possibilities of digital media and the way they are connected to reality. She completed her higher education studies at the University of Seville and the University of the Basque Country, working in advertising and image contexts until 2018, while simultaneously collaborating with visual and musical artists and cultural entities. Teresa Rofer creates pieces where she unfolds, always from an existential and intimist approach, enlightening points of view about the fragility of a utopian individual who does not renounce to express their direct experience of the world. The collective emotional traces which are somatized in the physical body, the intrinsic ambiguities of digital images or the frustrations of individuals exposed to a programmed impersonality. These concepts find in Teresa Rofer’s pieces, endowed with minimal narrative elements, a number of suggestive and novel hybridizations.
El Popo Sangre elucidates some fetchingly whimsical spectacles that tickle the curiosities of viewers. Residing in France, the artist incorporates his native language into his animations. There is a spirit of frolic and cerebral ecstasy that streams through each visual and it is invigorating on many levels. He designs a slew of fantastical characters that blossom in the many colors they bear. El Popo Sangre is a forward-thinking kind of artist who finds novel ways to express his artistic essence for all to become hopelessly enamored with.
Ryan Vautier is a CGI artist and designer based in London. He builds animated worlds exploring the fractures between digital and physical. Focusing on the concept that we currently have access to two separate planes of existence, he seeks to explore information of evolution from the digital realm.
Sarah Blomey is a CGI Artist based in London, UK. Her work explores the possibilities of artificial growth; how digital tools can replicate and build on organic processes. She works with 3D software to create models, simulations and virtual environments. Her recent works are part of an ongoing project to populate a self-evolving virtual world, in collaboration with Ryan Vautier.
Olia was born as an online persona in August 2017, since that day it has undergone constant metamorphis: the appearance of its virtual body, reconstructing itself continuously by way of computer graphic.
Walk-ins Welcome is a digital tattoo showroom of tattoos incorporating digital mediums (e.g. 3D modeling, virtual reality, digital painting). The soundscape is assembled from residual sounds of a tattoo in session: plastic crinkling, ink shaking, machines whirring.
Advances in image-rendering have become interwoven into the process of tattooing, and archived onto skin. More and more, this analog art form has seen a shift towards the digital and the experimental. Walk-ins Welcome is a showcase of tattooers who have embraced this shift in their practice.
Bambs is a Korean-American combustion whose work is just as intense as she is. Obsessing over the incomparable details of nature’s structures, cycles, flirtations drives her to create until her eyes feel they’ll pop out of their feeble sockets. Her mediums include 3D sculptures, marker illustrations, and fiction writing.
Alex Shilt is a CG specialist currently based in Dayton, OH. He develops 3D assets & environments along with motion graphics for a variety of projects ranging from feature films to music videos. His work includes themes of the human form, cosmic horror, and the subconscious. Through his surrealist vignette's he hopes to elicit a sense of curiosity & amazement for the unknown.
Miss Sammie is a multidisciplinary artist and cofounder of New Art City. Her sound practice concerns field recording, deep listening, and the process of translation. Her work in this exhibition is atmospheric, engaged with translating residual shop sounds into virtual space.
Hyodomachine’s work betrays the general expectation of a tattoo that is persistent and unchanging. From 3D renders, she uses abstract, repetitive imagery to evoke contrast between geometric pattern and muscle movement: creating a dynamic perception of form.
Lv Dian is a contemporary artist whose creative practice includes tattoo, painting and installation art. He is part of Shanghai-based tattoo collective, Good People Tattoo. With a focus on romance and humor, his style explores the possibility of future human perception of such subjects.
Ilia Zharkov is a Russian tattoo artist, and owner of Moscow-based studio Heavenly Beauty Tattoo. Embodying an absurdist approach, Ilia aims to transpose confusion and surprise onto skin. His style is a mixture of various art trends (including digital art) with experimental spirit.
As the core curator of Skin Garden, Viv Qiu invited researcher and theorist, Venus in Foil, and biosynthetic sculptress, Salomé Chatriot, to each co-curate a room within Skin Garden. Meshing Venus’ psychoanalytic research, and Salomé’s fluid approach to form, Skin Garden is an exercise in curatorial plurality: a transdisciplinary project.
Curator of all Skin Garden rooms, Viv Qiu is a generalist based in the Bay Area, co-parented by Chinese immigrants and the internet. She works at micro and macro scales, oscillating between object and theory, aesthetic and systemic. She is a zealot for the experimental, the speculative, and the absurd. With ties to industrial design, research, curation, creative direction, she’s made a home in concept as her core medium. Founder of Output Field, Viv dedicates all parts of her practice to redistributing clout and pursuing curation as polylogue, rather than monologue (a concept borrowed from Maura Reilly’s Curatorial Activism).
Co-curator of Bodies Unhinge, Venus in Foil is a PhD candidate at Brock University: her research deals with the affective remains of childhood trauma and aesthetic modes of survival, and involves elements of queer theory, affect theory, sound studies and psychoanalysis. She is a member of the posthumanist research group and a co-founder of Soak, a collective and club night aimed at supporting people of marginalized genders in experimental electronic music.
This show was made possible with the help of so many: Thank you to all the queers in our communities who sent us voice samples of your voice and breath: Mia, Dorothy, Zac, Anchi Ciwas, Julia, Kelso, Egyto. Thank you, Peter Kirn for your help mastering audio. Thank you to Benny, Sammie, and Don for your help in making this real in New Art City. Thank you to Alex Shilt and Lady Bambs for coming in for the rescue throughout the process.
Much thanks to Maura Reilly, author of Curatorial Activism, for writing the book that inspired the approach to this exhibition. Thank you Gordon Hall: your polemic about ‘The Body’ had strong influence on the direction behind Reconsider Flesh’s soundscape. Thank you Digi.Gxl for making it easier to find talented femme, nonbinary, women-identified artists in CG art.
Thank you, Faith Kim, for your design contributions to the Output Field brand identity and Skin Garden promotional materials. Thank you, Max Bendick, Brendan Lee, and Daniel Illner for your contributions to this website, and your continued contributions to Output Field’s mission to redistribute clout. Thank you to all of those who invited friends and loved ones to come see this exhibition with you, we’ll see you in the next one.