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Artist Profile: Heather Engen

Oakland sculptor Heather Engen’s “Feeling Through Eyes: texture study #16” will screen as a part of the Quotidian Hypnosis program on November 6th. The randomly synchronized multichannel video projection first exhibited at the Mills 2014 MFA show, and the large­-scale First Friday projection will prove to be the perfect public debut for this digital installation.

In “Feeling” Engen wanted to create a familiar act in the physical world – working with Play-­Doh – but distort the experience using MAX, a visual programming language for media.

Engen says:

“Play-­Doh is a basic, fundamental material. There’s this really direct engagement with, ‘I push this surface and it makes an indent, or I squeeze it and it can make a ball.’ You know what’s supposed to happen. You can identify with this motion.But when it’s borne out in a digital way, you’ve got these different vignettes going on, and have all of them playing at once. So there’s this simultaneousness and there’s a sense that everything can happen at one time. Each vignette plays backward as well as forward. So there’s this undoing as well as doing. There really is no beginning. There really is no end. So I took this really fundamental experience and distorted it and kind of blew it up as much as I could using digital means. My question around it was ‘how does some very fundamental primal understanding of the way that we are connected to our physical environment – how does it shift? How does that shift feel when all the processing is applied?’ That’s what I want people to come in contact with.”

Check out Quotidian Hypnosis from 7­-9pm on November 6th at the Great Wall of Oakland to come into contact with Heather Engen’s “Feeling Through Eyes: texture study #16.”

To see more of Heather’s work, visit her website: