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The Futures Project
Center for the Living Arts, Mobile, Alabama
May 2013-January 2014
A site specific work by Nina Waisman, for the Center of the Living Arts, with pd programming by Marius Schebella.

More info on the show here

Futures Project
Futres Project is a nine-month program that examines future possibilities for the Gulf Coast, with focus areas that are both expected and unexpected.

Futures Project features a group exhibition of emerging and established visual artists of our time in our 16,000 square ft. gallery. In addition to the exhibition, the CLA has organized an extensive slate of educational and public programming to compliment and amplify Futures Project.

Artists’ projects are considered a springboard for new conversations, and the CLA welcomes their input and ideas for all public programs and activities. A different topic relating to the future will be examined through film screenings, public forums and conversations, studio classes and workshops for all ages, plus special programming for teens and seniors.

Body Envelope
Body Envelope explores technology's potential to bring farflung bodies, through sound traces of their gestural acts, into a visitors' immediate space. Sensors are suspended to form a 3-dimensional envelope large enough for one body - some sensors respond to the slightest bodily movements, others must be reached for conscientiously. When entered and explored, via this triggering of sensors, Body Envelope will surround a body with sounds selected from wide reaches of experience – animal, human, machine, atomic, cosmic, delicate, aggressive, articulate, anomic... Each visitor will compose a shifting sonic cosmos as she tries to trigger particular kinds of sounds, which then change in pitch, speed, volume and spatialization, in relation to her movements.  

The sounds near the center are those understood to be intimate to the sound-provider's experience, while those further from the center connect to ideas or events that take place at a greater distance. Someone standing in the center may reach sensors near and far - making a re-mapping instrument that changes both its content and sonic qualities in relations to visitors' movements. 

“The volume of space around your body out to arm's length - what neuroscientists call peripersonal space - is part of you. Through a special mapping procedure, your brain annexes this space to your limbs and body, clothing you in it like an extended, ghostly skin.” (Blakeslee, Sandra and Matthew, The Body Has a Mind of its Own). 

Neurologists and others are also finding that proximity increases empathy – you feel for entities you see or hear in front of you, more than those further afield. For example, simply hearing the sound of another body performing an action can lead us to experience this action in the brain and muscles. We don’t enact the gesture but nerve-clusters for producing it fire, and muscles are primed to act. Neurologists believe this happens courtesy of a mirror-neuron system in our brains, and  link this mirroring system to a survival-driven need for empathic skills.

Photo: Kimberly Nichols
Photo: Kimberly Nichols