Leila Sujir & Maria Lantin – Chorus of Lungs

In the interactive video installation, in progress, Chorus of Lungs, Tulip Theory (Leila Sujir & Maria Lantin) explore the social body, its voice and breath through 3D video and audio projections. Sounds of breathing ebb and flow, a chorus of lungs floats in the gallery, sharing a space with the viewer. The viewer is invited to make a gesture with their hands—pushing the hands together, then pulling the hands apart, actions which compress or create a space for the lungs to become a chorus both visually and audibly. Somewhere between the individual and the chorus, the social body and the physical body, this Tulip Theory installation reveals a physicality that invokes a fragile yet tensile strength. In “The Emancipated Spectator,” Jacques Rancière reflects on what it means to inhabit spaces of art that are not spectacles but spaces with agency for a viewer. We are exploring the tensions between community, chorus, and individual voicing with an attentiveness to our singular and collective being.

Leila Sujir is an artist and a professor at Concordia University in the Intermedia Cyberarts (IMCA) program of the Studio Arts Department with a background in visual and media arts production and theory. In 2005 through 2006, she was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Calgary, a one year research position as an artist in the Interactions Lab in the Department of Computer Science. My Two Grandmothers RMX/Tulipomania (2006) with Maria Lantin, is an interactive video installation working with a tabletop interface, a project which culminated from the year at the Interactions Lab and as a co-production in the Banff New Media Institute where she first met and started working with Maria Lantin. A solo exhibition that has toured Canada, Luminous Stories, initiated by the Art Gallery of Peterborough, covers ten years of her video production. Her video works have been shown in group shows at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate Gallery in Liverpool, U.K. as well as galleries and festivals all over the world. New Republics, a group exhibition out of the U.K. toured Canada and Australia 1999-2000.

Dr. Maria Lantin is the Director of the Intersections Digital Studios (IDS) research centre at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design. For many years she has been joining her love of Computing Science with her belief in the innovative potential of the arts. A circuitous route led her from obtaining her PhD in Computing Science at Simon Fraser University to leading the Visualization Research Lab at the Banff Centre’s Banff New Media Institute (BNMI). Working primarily in teams, she has had the joy of bringing to life many artist projects involving digital technology, and continues this practice at Emily Carr where the IDS provides an ample playground for experimentation.

Currently, Lantin and Sujir are working on a SSHRC research creation grant , Breath I/O, towards a new project, Chorus of Lungs. Specifically, they are interested to engage with the spectacle of technology, which is particularly pronounced within virtual spaces, by giving a performative role to the viewer; to develop the ‘ghosts’ of technology’s dreamlike ‘vision’ spaces, working with 3D technologies, with an awareness of the mythologies and the implied narratives within the virtual spaces, and with the intention as artist-scientist creators to dismantle these spectral authorities; to consider the implications of the presence of an embodied viewer when the virtual is moved into physical spaces, into gallery spaces, festival spaces, community spaces where people convene with virtual and material spaces imbued with narratives constructed by the artists; & to work with the notion of cultural hybridity within technology and the social sphere, in particular with questions around the body and the state.

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