LIZ BAYAN

bayan_liz

For years, I have often wondered if the relationship I maintain with my computer is the most intimate relationship I will ever have. We seemingly coexist: it archives all the pictures I take; it communicates with my friends and family; it knows all my passwords without asking; it is instrumental in how I make art; and late at night before I fall asleep, it watches TV with me. In a sense, this unintentionally archived documentation of my life acts as a technology of my body. At the same time, I know that my experience with this intimate technology is not singular but heavily mediated by corporate companies. Consequently, my video and performance work falls within the realm of the mediated, focusing on intimate relationships that I cultivate with people and machines. In this regard, I see my performances as mediations, carefully crafted while intentionally leaving room for moments of spontaneity. For instance, in my piece And Now You Can Breathe (2014) I perform with another individual giving her/him minimal directions, only explaining that as we embrace each other I will slowly let go of my weight. These purposefully vague instructions allow my partner to decide how s/he will drop me at the moment when my weight is too much to bear. This form of mediation appears repeatedly in my work, as I see in technology what I see in my connections to people: a (dis)comfort and a (dis)trust with intimate relationships simultaneously resisted/desired.

Documentation, as another form of mediation, plays a significant role conceptually as well as practically in my work. I struggle with the tension between permitting my performances to exist in the moment while also keeping documents of them as an archive for the future. For me, there is a decisive relationship between my performances and technology, because I correlate the act of documentation to always already being tied to the technological. Moreover, through my examination of technology, I am not simply referring to the digital; I see my work concurrently spanning non-digital mediums such as the oral and the written. In fact, this approach provides me with the grounding for questioning whether the body itself can be thought of as technological. A generative example of this can be found in my work, Examination of Conscience (2009), a project where I performed readings from my high school era diaries for the eye of the camera. In this performance I take the hand written text, perform it orally, and record it digitally, which has the effect of interlacing the technological through and to my own body. In this way, my body acts as an interface for my mediations between myself and other people/machines.

http://www.lizbayan.com

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