Thursday, March 23rd // 5-7PM
Calit2 Theater, Atkinson Hall / UC San Diego

Stefani Byrd, Sarah Ciston, Amy Fox, and Fernanda Navarro

The Burden of Selfhood is an interdisciplinary work exploring the intersection of feminism, identity and technology. By using interactive technology and research from cognitive science, music, poetry, video and performance art, the performance will investigate the experience of viewing and being viewed as a gendered body. “Technology has accelerated the recursive gaze to the point that we continually perform and project back onto each other our internalized expectations for unattainable perfection,” said artist Stefani Byrd, an MFA candidate in Visual Arts. “This poly-vocal performance will use large-scale data visualizations and live performers to make explicit both the collective gaze and the implicit impact of being seen.” Using gaze-tracking technology, the first part of the live performance will implicate the view of the audience by revealing where their attention is focused on the body of the performer as the piece unfolds. This data will be used to create a “heat map” that is then projected onto the performer’s body. In Act Two, the artists use projection mapping to project alternative faces onto the performer’s face, turning it into a “malleable surface that we can transform to visualize ideas around reconstructing identity,” said Sara Ciston, MFA candidate in Writing at UC San Diego. Other participants include Cognitive Science Ph.D. student Amy Rae Fox, and composer Fernanda Navarro, a Ph.D. student in the Music department. Fox conducted language-based content analysis of user-generated makeup tutorial videos as a prelude to projecting new faces on the performer.

Image is courtesy of Artist Stefani Byrd.