[Artists Studios] Governors Island 2020: Katherine Bennett

Luciferins is an interactive environment of hanging fiber structures. As viewers move through the environment, the fiber structures illuminate with animations, showing network traffic. Manipulated field recordings play in a 7-channel system.


Luciferins gives viewers a sense of the invisible network activity around them—just as a swimmer would make a dwelling of sea sparkle appear by swimming through it. Luciferins opens the conversation about control and privacy in our digital landscape.

Influenced by the cultural shifts that technology creates, this series of fiber installations imagines a future dystopia warped by technology. The surreptitious collection of personal data has led to a humanity controlled by the machine. Luciferins is one project in this series.

Luciferins—inspired by bioluminescent fish and the plethora of invisible network traffic that surrounds us—is an interactive environment of hanging fiber structures. Depth cameras will be used to sense viewers in the space, as well as the fibers structures themselves. Fiber structures are distributed throughout the space, creating a layered environment that envelops the viewer’s body. As viewers move through the environment, the fiber structures closest to them will illuminate with graphical animations. After a short period of time in one location, a graphical portal opens to show network communication packets, which are also invisibly traversing the space. Sonic field recordings are manipulated and play in a 7-channel sound system. Sound is also interlaced with shortwave radio recordings. The portal opens only for a few seconds before returning the room to its normal state. 


Luciferins makes our digital networks perceptible when they are often imperceptible. The infrastructure that facilitates communication largely remains hidden. Luciferins’ network becomes perceptible by movement of the body. It gives viewers a sense of the invisible activity that surrounds them—just as a swimmer would make a dwelling of sea sparkle appear by swimming through it. Luciferins seeks to not only be an experience, but to open up the conversation about control and privacy in one of our last frontiers. The piece allows for an alternative experience of abstract concepts concerning technology; enabling viewers to connect it to their everyday lives.

As a new media, fiber, and installation artist, Katherine Bennett builds interactive systems exploring our emerging futures of the digital experience. She utilizes sound and light to represent people, relationships and activities that happen in other spaces and times. She creates a delicate presence of these entities, developing the architecture to facilitate them; choreograph within time; making each visceral. She utilizes programming and physical computing to create interactive and responsive installations. She codes and incorporates sensors, electronics, fibers and computer vision to create her pieces. She is fascinated by the liminal spaces created by digital communities and the cultural changes that result. Her latest environments investigate how communication technologies are shaping our identity and pushing us towards a tighter integration with the machine.

Katherine is a recent recipient of the Harvestworks New Works Residency (2019). Her work appears in the Spring 2019 and 2020 issues of Fiber Arts Now. She has exhibited at the Inst-Int Festival, ODETTA Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), ISEA (Vancouver, BC & Singapore), Maryland Art Place (Baltimore, MD), Indianapolis Art Center (Indianapolis, IN), Obro (Canada), Collar Works (Troy, New York), The University of the Arts (Philadelphia), The Electrofringe Festival (New Castle, Australia), The University of Nevada, Reno, Zhou B Art Center (Chicago), and the Contemporary Arts Center (Cincinnati, OH), among others. She has received grants from The Ohio Arts Council, the Puffin Foundation and the Illuminating & Engineering Society. Her other residencies include Jentel, Weir Farm and the Vermont Studio Center (full grant).

Website and Social Media Links:

http://katherinebennett.net/

http://katherinebennett.net/process/blog/category/the-making-of-luciferins/

https://www.instagram.com/ladyk_coding/

https://www.peripheralvisionarts.org/bennett-profile

Read more about Katherine:

https://www.peripheralvisionarts.org/journal/katherine-bennett-charissa-terranova

https://www.tsgny.org/tsgny-blog

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