Functional Embrace by Eric Rieper|Human(oid) by Stephanie Sassine
Digital Arts MFA Thesis exhibitions featuring Steph Sassine’s “Human(oid);” and Eric Rieper’s “Functional Embrace” Opening reception: Mon, April 14th 5-8PM
BIO: Eric Rieper is an interdisciplinary artist from Brooklyn, NY. His work manifests itself as large scale interactive installations, digitally produced and augmented sculpture, and browser based net-art.
Functional Embrace is a reflection on technology’s ability and intentions to facilitate intimate social interactions. The exhibition features three collections of work that employ those interactions and the surrounding conventions and language of contemporary internet services and digital devices.
Featured in the exhibition are the “Embrace Objects” – a series of reactive sculptures that reveal themselves as you choose to engage with them, “Wake Up With the World” – an alarm clock that generates music based on the GPS coordinates of everyone else waking up at that precise moment, and two collaborative, anonymous web experiences – “itconnects.us” and “h-o-ld.me”
Stephanie Sassine is a Lebanese transmedia artist based in New York. She uses a variety of media ranging from photography and video to physical computing and interactive installations, to make the familiar “unfamiliar”, where darker, more hostile subject matters can be teased out of quotidian routine scenarios.
Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design with an emphasis in Digital Design from the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Lebanon. Her never-quenching appetite for learning droveher to pursue a Master in Fine Arts in Digital Arts at Pratt Institute, focusing on interactive arts, a specialty that lets her learn new technologies and set herself new challenges every day.
“How do you know I’m mad?””You must be, or you wouldn’t have come here.”(Alice in Wonderland)
“HUMAN(OID);” is a subtle interactive installation that generates an intellectual uncertainty in the participants’ minds, in addition to engaging them to connect with a digital being on an emotional level, be it positively or negatively.The concept is stemmed from our fascination and focus in technology advancement in reaching the uncanny valley. This is publicly showcased in the next-gen characters in 3D movies and games, humanoid robots, hologram projections, and the list goes on. It seems like our goal has been, for decades,to digitally create something that is “as human looking” as possible. They even made movies about it, the latest to date being “Her” (2013) by director Spike Jonze. This obsession of God-defying digital procreation is today reaching successful results, so successful that they are bluntly creepy, since residing in the uncanny valley.The installation acts like a subtle highly interactive augmented reality piece, where the virtual male character (modeled after the artist’s female face) will seemingly invade and roam the gallery, while interacting with participants through gestures.