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Critical Practice

Kevin Siwoff

b. New York, USA, lives and works in London, UK & New York. 

Kevin Siwoff works with moving image, sound, text, and performance. His work centers around de-constructive processes and actions that explore and reveal transformations of meaning and self, as language is translated by the body, voice, and technology.

Degree Details

School of Arts & Humanities

Critical Practice

I’m interested in how spoken and gestural languages can be used to reveal, as well as hide, the personal. How an artwork can embody the tension between revealing and hiding one’s self, without resolving them. And how my body’s role in the process of making art might be to create interference patterns in the languages that traverse and inhabit me: Forms of masculinity that are lodged into my body with both unknowable comfort, as well as an acute and present discomfort.


Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a renegotiation with my virtual self, and sparked an interest for me in coded body language: semaphores, movement analysis and dance notation. I’m interested in the ways in which these languages, through encoding and decoding, might articulate forms of hiding and revealing, and how the unexpected glitches that happen through their technological translation, produce a certain dissonance and tension. 


Working with virtual avatars and AI, which capture, analyze and simulate patterns in my voice and body movements, has been a way for me to empty or deconstruct myself. This deconstruction happens in a propositional way. Can I truly empty myself of that which makes me, 'Me'? And if I could, what material would I use to fill the emptied vessel?

7 Ways of emptying myself — Click 'Launch Project' to enter the VR application. (Works on Chrome and Firefox desktop browsers only).

7 Ways of emptying myself (XR version) is a virtual, interactive video installation centred around seven bodily gestures of embrace, extension, and restraint. Unable to travel to his studio during the months of UK lockdown in 2020, Siwoff began capturing himself on video, improvising these gestures around his home. He later processed the video footage, using virtual green screen and 3D motion capture software, to control the animation of a virtual avatar.  As a puppet, the avatar mirrors many of the same physical limitations as his puppeteer. However, due to technological mistranslations, the software glitches magnify the awkwardness of each gesture, drawing one's attention to the space between the virtual and the real, an internal struggle for the video-captured artist and an external, projected one onto his avatar.

Medium:

web VR Application
Ways of emptying myself (soundtrack)

This work is featured on Tongue of blade ‡ Ears of mud, which will be released on cassette on 21 July 2021.


Tongue of blade ‡ Ears of mud is a compilation album of sound works by nine artists from the Contemporary Art Practice programme.


Preorder now via the Shopify link below for a limited edition of 50 cassette tapes, featuring original cover design by Faye Rita Robinson.

https://rca-sales.com/pages/seller-profile/CAP-RECORDS  

Medium:

Stereo audio

Size:

Duration: 16'29"
VR view from 7 Ways of emptying myself (Still)
VR view from 7 Ways of emptying myself (Still)
VR view from 7 Ways of emptying myself (Still)
VR view from 7 Ways of emptying myself (Still)
VR view from 7 Ways of emptying myself (Still)
VR view from 7 Ways of emptying myself (Still)
VR view from 7 Ways of emptying myself (Still)
VR view from 7 Ways of emptying myself (Still)

Medium:

Production stills from VR app