Artist Kristin Lucas

Break Out (2007) digital print on light box

On Monday the 12/3/07 I attended a wonderful lecture given by Kristin Lucas on her own work for the Arts, Technology, and Culture Colloquium at UC Berkeley (all lectures free and open to the public). As the flier accompanying the lecture states "Kristin Lucas is an artist working in the realms of digital art, video, performance, intervention, sculpture and installation." She lives in Oakland and currently holds a position at California College of the Arts.

Lucas describes herself as working with the feeling of time, space and digital media and I found particularly enlightening her feeling of inbetweeness that these elements cause in contemporary life. With the constant accumulation of digital and physical material she feels lost in the everyday space of her life. This is at once a boon because when one is lost one doesn't know what one is looking for and open to new discoveries, but also a demobilizing clutter. In regards to the accumulation of technology she is not critical of the technology itself but the systems deploying it. Here, she feels demobilized between the magic of technology and its massive, yet some times invisible, force it plays on her life. She sites the toxic Superfund sites of Silicon Valley to exemplify the negative forces technology creates in her life.

To navigate, or perhaps deal, with the life's overwhelming accumulation, Lucas uses her art to become a hunter-gather of physical, cyber and or imaginary spaces all of which she considers as equally real. This can be seen in the gathering of a self portrait photo, digital game like images, and make-up derived imaginary illnesses as seen in her 2007 digital print on a light box, Break Out, or with her residency with the John Erickson Museum of Art (JEMA), a brief case sized museum that she traveled around Wiemar, Germany with in order to enlist a search party to find the "outside." She talked a wide variety of people on where to find the outside but unfortunately has not yet enlisted a single person to search with her.

In one stroke of genius, Lucas adopted a digital method into her physical life in order to give herself a clean break in a world of accumulation and being lost. That is, in her project Refresh, she legally changed her name from Kristen Sue Lucas to Kristen Sue Lucas thus giving herself a restart in her legal and mental world. This required to appearances before a judge and a month long notice in the newspaper. She had audience members reenact her courtroom appearance at the lecture. Which was great because we felt closer to this kind of art as intervention into legal space.

Lucas's is work is an incredible reflection on our lives in the contemporary age. In her lecture she warned that cyberspace is becoming control space in both our physical and virtual lives. And so with her work she brings together the physical, digital and the hard to commoditize imaginary, in order to explore and delineate their borders and, in my view, prepare for a more open future.

Ms. Lucas does some great work and seems to be a wonderful person. You should really check out her homepage.

Be sure to look for one great example of the power of gathering as a sense making tool: Her Decryption Poem Series where she takes corporate annual reports and turns them into poetry!

Also, soon you will be able to listen to lecture through the Berkeley Art Museum.

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