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Outfits for Acrobats

  • Practice 319 North 11th Street _ Floor 2, 19107 (map)
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If a free-floating person spins fast enough they could turn into an electromagnetic wave. Flying trapeze artists are halfway toward disembodiment.


In a tinkerer’s fashion, Emmy Thelander crossbreeds ethereal video images and tactility—creating hybrids of motion and sites of contact. For her solo exhibition with Practice, she will demonstrate this feat both inside the gallery as well as off-site through personal walking tours.
Colorful, wobbly designs that take the form of unitards in acrobatic poses hang on the walls. Thelander created these drawings using an analog video feedback loop like those employed by TV meteorologists. While viewing a monitor, she colored a sketch pad—her doodles consuming the leotards worn by trapeze artists from found footage, frozen mid-flight. The acrobats’ silhouettes, made transparent through digital alteration, were a site of contact for Thelander’s pencil. A 1 hr 13 min video which accompanies the drawings documents their making; as each outfit is completed it collects on the side of the screen like a sticker.

Like the headless fragment of a planarian flatworm which is able to detect light, Thelander wonders what it would be like if parts of the body below the neck could see. Participants will have the opportunity to navigate the world from the perspective of their knees during individual tours with the artist. Using a device she created, the participant’s vision will be transported to knee-height; when the user lifts a leg to step, her sight will bobble up and down. The knee-cam recalibrates bodily experience. Participants will be asked to suggest a location or activity throughout Philadelphia and Thelander will record what they see. Sign-up sheets will be online and inside the gallery. Dates for tours include: April 7, 20, 21, 27, and 28.

Earlier Event: April 5
Wind Challenge 2
Later Event: April 5
ART As Cognition