Wave Farm Artist-in-Residence: Viola He

Aug 22, 2023 - Aug 31, 2023
Viola He Portrait

Viola He Portrait.

Quiet, and Sometimes Silent is a participatory experience that explores proximity, intimacy, and subtle communication. Consisting of two soft head pieces equipped with flapping and buzzing mechanisms and a fabric speaker, the experience asks one participant at a time to put on the device, as does the He, from a certain distance away. The wearable pieces talk to each other through LoRa, a wireless protocol that enables small data-packet transmissions using a free, hobbyist radio frequency. As the participants approach each other, lightly touch their own head piece in different ways, the other person's piece will morph into different shapes – flapping, shrinking, producing buzzing sensations and movements. Together, two people create a unique soundscape for each other to experience while turning themselves into mutating sculptures, assisting them to communicate with nonverbal subtlety. This project draws correlation between protocols outside of heavily surveilled mass superstructures and the state of acquainted human relationships, exploring the idea that small movements and sporadic data exchange can resemble our loose social connections with the people around us.

Viola He is a Shanghai-born, Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist, educator, and cultural organizer. Their creative practices engage with DIY electronics, programming, dance/movements, and various time-based media, exploring pathways towards alternative systems, interfaces, and infrastructures. They create immersive experiences, installations, and improvisational performances using algorithmic approaches to enhance, alternate, and obfuscate audio-visual assets, investigating the contradictions of analog aesthetics and digital tools. He often dreams about computational humor, collective learning, and infiltrating digital spaces with physical bodies as tools for intervention.