The News Service
January 24 to March 10, 2004
Bell Gallery to exhibit artist Bill Seaman’s Exchange Fields
The David Winton Bell Gallery will present a multisensory interactive exhibition, Bill Seaman: Exhange Fields, featuring the work of award-winning video artist and RISD Professor Bill Seaman, Jan. 24 through March 10, 2004. The exhibit is free and open to the public, as is the opening reception and artist’s lecture on Friday, Jan. 23, at 5:30 p.m.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The David Winton Bell Gallery will present Bill Seaman: Exchange Fields, an exhibition featuring an installation by the artist, Jan. 24 through March 10, 2004.
An opening reception and a lecture by the artist are scheduled for Friday, Jan. 23, 2004, at 5:30 p.m. in the List Art Center Auditorium. The Bell Gallery is located on the first floor of the List Art Center at 64 College St. The exhibition, reception and lecture are free and open to the public.
“Exchange Fields invites viewers to take an active role and interact with furniture-like objects displayed randomly on the gallery floor in front of three video projections,” said Vesela Sretenovic, the Bell Gallery curator. “These objects, made of pressed wood, are designed to elicit movement of the viewer’s body. For example, a chair-like object invites the viewer to sit, while a flat plank suggests that the viewer lie down.”
Seaman, a professor and head of the Digital Media Program at Rhode Island School of Design, explores the continuum between physical and virtual/media space in his work. In Exchange Fields he merges video projections, sound, dance, poetic text and sculptural objects to create an interactive, multisensory environment. The installation was commissioned in 2000 by vision ruhr exhibition of Dortmund, Germany, and produced as a collaboration between Seaman and Regina van Berkel, a Dutch dancer and choreographer.
The interaction between the viewers and the objects in the installation activates sensors, setting off a series of video images that are projected onto a screen – images of dance movements that were choreographed by van Berkel in anticipation of that interaction. Five to seven dance sequences were created for each of the 13 objects in the installation, resulting in some 100 dance pieces. As many as four viewers may interact with the furniture pieces at once, in turn triggering the projection of four separate but simultaneous dance sequences that overlap one another and create an additional series of images.
“Shot with dramatic lighting, in the manner of chiaroscuro paintings, these dance scenes are imbued with intensity, implicit eroticism and theatrical presence, emphasizing the gestural language of the body and sensuousness of the flesh,” said Sretenovic. In addition to this central projection, images projected to the right and left show linear scenes of industrial sites and processes.
“With meditative sound playing in the background, blending with the chanting of Seaman’s lyrics reflecting on human-machine relations, Exchange Fields embodies a space that heightens sensory experience while stimulating viewers’ interaction and communication with the objects around them – thus creating its own field of exchanges, between subject and object, self and other, and actual and virtual experience,” Sretenovic continued. “This physical engagement of the viewers with objects gives the work a dimension of playfulness and surprise, unexpected and magical – in the words of the artist, ‘enabling fields of meaning to emerge.’ ”
Bill Seaman was born in Kennet, Mo., in 1956. He earned a Ph.D. from the Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts, University of Wales, Newport, as well as an M.S. in visual studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute. He is a self-taught musician and composer. His works have been featured at numerous festivals around the world, including the World Wide Video Festival at The Hague, Netherlands; Bonn Videonal and the Berlin Film Festival in Germany; the San Sebastian Film and Video Festival in Spain; and the Australian Video Festival in Sydney. He has exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Barbican Centre, London; the Center for Culture and Communication, Budapest, Hungary; NTT-ICC, Tokyo; and the Wexner Center, Columbus, Ohio. He is the recipient of many awards, including the Prix Ars Electronica in Interactive Art (Austria); International Video Art Prize, ZKM (Germany); Bonn Videonale Prize; first prize, Berlin Film/Video Festival, Multimedia; and the Awards in the Visual Arts Prize.
Regina van Berkel received her formal dance training at the Nederlands Danstheater under the direction of Ivan Kramer and the Rotterdamse Dansacademie in the Netherlands. After a long engagement with William Forsythe’s prestigious Frankfurt Ballet, she began working on her own choreography in 1998. Her recent productions include Inner Breath (1999) for the Holland Dance Festival and into dissolving (2001) for the Choreographic Center NRW in Essen.
The David Winton Bell Gallery is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For further information, call (401) 863-2932.