Women CineMakers, Special Edition, vol 4

Page 218

Women Cinemakers meets

Amber Tutwiler Lives and works in Lake Worth, FL, USA

“Starting from this gaze that is, as it were, directed toward me, from the ground of this virtual space that is on the other side of the glass, I come back toward myself…” -Foucault, Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias, 1984 I am an interdisciplinary artist who works across oil painting, sculpture/installation, audio, and video. My work is a meditation on interface; specifically, it is concerned with the interface between our physical, corporeal world and the heterotopic spaces arising from the world – what Foucault described as “placeless places” in his essay, Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias (1984). These places are so assimilated that our bodies have become symbiotic with them, becoming invisibly dependent on visibility. From a feminist perspective, female bodies are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, as they are fetishized in the anonymity of Internet spaces. Even in the most common interfaces, at the very least, we become two-dimensional reflections. Luce Irigary explains, “… Privileging the flat mirror, a technical object exterior to us, and the images which it gives back, can only generate for us, give us a false body, a surplus twodimensional body” (“A Natal Lucana,” Women’s Art Magazine, 1994). I am concerned with how the body becomes integrated into this voyeuristic digital melting pot, oriented as landscapes that are not concise in their place, time, or consent. Though the viewer is inclined to believe there is something real about what is seen (at least at some point), the method by which this information is delivered is very un-real. Translucent color, warped planes, optical portages, and fringe interference patterns intersect the body; consequentially, there is a tension between what feels like a moment of intimacy between the viewer and the subject, and the reality of the subject’s digital infidelity. This transaction moves as quickly forward as it does away, revealing nothing but an interface: a surface to which mediates multiple points of contact. Ultimately, my work traps this transaction, bringing body, space, time, and interface into suspension. As Omar Kholeif said so well, “This is all the product of an ongoing symbiosis between life and technology. We have come into an age of ongoing digital preservation; the unending documentation of the human self has become one of the primary affective experiences of day-to-day existence…” (“Navigating the Moving Image,” Moving Image, 2015).

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

Hello Amber and welcome to : we would start this interview with a couple of questions about

your background. You have a solid formal training and after having earned your MFA in Painting from the University of Miami, you nurtured your education with an MFA in Visual Art and Mixed Media, that you received from Florida Atlantic University: how did these experiences influence your artistic evolution? Moreover,