Murmur.Silence.Touch by Jenna Burchell
One of the first truly interactive art works that I’ve seen at a commercial gallery in South Africa is the installation, Murmur.Silence.Touch by Jenna Burchell in the Rainforest Project Room at the Gordart in Melville, Johannesburg.
Burchell writes of her installation:
Through building spaces that illustrate the mental "inscape" of individuals, I aim to pull down the barriers of traditional portraiture and search for new ways to portray the deeper existential core of people. In doing this the voice of the sitter is freed and a dialogue with the viewer is brought to life.
This interchange is created through computer controlled, interactive objects stripped down with bereft aesthetics, parodying the hard edged technology with organic beauty. While surrounded by such a flux the viewer can find in their mind the faces and lives of the sitter.
Gordart gallery owner, Gordon Froude, getting tech support from the artist
to get Jenna Burchill’s interactive work rebooted and working again on the
day after the lauch. At present this is one of the drawbacks of computer-based installation art.
Note the audio processing boards in the box, while he feels around for the on/off switch.
The work turned the back end of the installation
into a delicate tracery of patterned wires.
The audio circuit of the installation with the computer, which is driving the
system, in the background.
"Put on a glove and touch the wires" The installation invited visitors to put on a specially
prepared glove with two metal foil contacts. Quite how the work was to be played
was left to the user to work out; but the long wires protruding from the middle of
the frame, like metallic Rapunzel hairs, seemed to invite touch.
Robin Kelly interacting with Murmur.Silence.Touch by Jenna Burchell.
Running the glove along the paired wires produced a susurrus of
voices speaking softly.