ARTIST: Seth Lewis
TITLE: S.R.I (Sensory Reality Interface)
MATERIALS: Aluminum, polyurethane resin, motors and electronic parts
DATE: 2004

S. R. I. is a grounding system based upon the sense of touch. It acts as a surrogate sense of touch in the absence of the artist. The piece is simultaneously exploring its surroundings and interacting with the viewer by moving and producing light/sound. It grounds me as the artist through the action of touching both the physical world and the metaphorical world of human awareness. It has become my experience that no sense does more to connect me to reality than touch. By touching I can extend myself past the world of assumption that sight seems to provide and extend myself into actual knowledge on the nature of a substance or area; such as whether or not it is hard, soft, or rough. Touch can also emphasize my awareness of the actual presence of other humans.

Tactile sensation is the sense in my opinion that shows the most emotion between humans. Although violence and expressions of sentiment can be made through other means; no form of expression seems to express better than those that include the act of actual contact. I see S. R. I. as a prosthesis or extension of myself that better allows me to stay within that realm (actual, not dreamed or imagined, reality) and express my opinions on the nature of touch.

As an artist it has become my desire to explore the various forms of human interaction and the human condition as a whole. My plan is to do this through the medium of machines. Machines, along with having the ability to act out performances in the absence of human performers, are to me an inherent part of human existence. We are integrally linked to our technology and it to us. These creatures or children that I create serve to help me explore aspects of my own life and the lives of others that I don't fully understand and feel like I need to express to other people. The themes in this exploration will range from sensuality and sentimentality to violence to the basic biological needs such as eating and sleeping. As actors my pieces will continuously perform their established tasks to properly express my concerns and lines of query.

The question as to why I do not use human actors to do the work is answered by the inherent nature of machines as tools without the ability to bring in external influence or personal expression that is carried by all beings with individuality ( though this may change sometime in the near future). The machines are extensions of myself and slave to my will as far as nature and physics will allow; something that ethically I could not ask of other people. If the nature of machine existence were to change so would my viewpoint on the purpose and place of my pieces. I do not mean that there is no emotional connection between me and my art. This cannot be because of my belief. If I had no feeling for them I would have no feeling for myself since they are me and I them. As of now my pieces are nothing more than body parts that express my thoughts and emotions.

Seth Lewis
Baton Rouge, LA
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