ARTIST: Olivia Robinson
TITLE: Imbalanced Ambivalence
MATERIALS: LCD screen, antique box, crank, video
DIMENSIONS: 33" x 11" x 16"
DATE: 2004

'Imbalanced Ambivalence' is an interactive video sculpture made up of an LCD screen imbedded in an antique box with an attached small crank. When the viewer turns the crank on the box, a video fades into the LCD screen. The video is shot using a tiny camera and captures unusual angles of a woman dressing in a nurse's uniform. As she dresses, small clips of the patient who is waiting are spliced in. Because of the placement of the camera, at times the images become abstract. The playback of the video is linked to the crank which gives the impression that the viewer is actually turning the frames of the video as old film reels may have worked. When the crank stops moving the video fades out and will start again at the beginning the next time it is manipulated. My own accordion music is the soundtrack to the video.

I adopted a feral kitten from a librarian at school, thinking feral meant the same as stray. She was not like any other cat I had met before -- a ball of hissing, scratching, hiding fur. I brought her home and I named her Pearl. Everyday for the next two weeks, I located her new hiding place, checked if she had eaten, and tried to interact without getting attacked. Just at the point I thought this was a big mistake I dangled a string in front of Pearl and she came out of her hiding place. This string made her forget that I was a stranger and gave us a way to be together. I think art making is like the string.

I have worked with a variety of mediums and situations -- photography, video, inflatable sculpture, performance, community art, collaborative art, solo art -- and continually return to this story about the string. Trying new mediums and technology distracts me enough to experience a new side of myself and build relationships. I often think of myself as a craftsperson rather than artist because I love processes like measuring, then cutting and measuring again.

My most recent projects merge the highly technical with the deeply personal. I incorporate sculpture, video, technology and human interaction through touching, cranking or shaking. An example is Oblivious, an interactive video installation. An image of a naked man is projected onto a touch sensitive table and as the image is touched by viewers, the man reacts physically as well as fades over multiple interactions. Through developing the technology, my string, I learned a great deal about relationships.

Olivia Robinson
Troy NY
robino AT rpi.edu