Sonia Cilliari, Sensitive to Pleasure

Artist in residence January - April 2010

Performative electric-field sensing and sound environment (performance duration: ~ 2 hours)

The installation is part of the Technology Requested exhibition

 Technology requested
In de tentoonstelling Technology Requested staat het werk centraal van kunstenaars die nieuwe technologieën toepassen om interactie met het publiek aan te gaan. De kunstwerken komen pas tot leven als de toeschouwer de fysieke ruimte van het kunstwerk betreedt.Met de tentoonstelling 'Technology Requested' neemt Heiner Holtappels afscheid als algemeen en artistiek directeur van het Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst. Heiner Holtappels is sinds 1998 in functie en beëindigt zijn werk hier per eind februari 2011. De kunstenaars in de tentoonstelling hebben een speciale relatie met het Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst en hun werk is gedurende de afgelopen 12 jaar meerdere malen vertoond in het instituut. 'Technology Requested' toont nieuwe installaties die in 2010 gerealiseerd zijn. Zo is de performance-installatie van Sonia Cillari dit jaar als Artist in Residence project bij het NIMk tot stand gekomen. Met Alfredo Ciannameo, Sonia Cillari, Kirsten Geisler, Edwin van der Heide, Marnix de Nijs, Christiaan Zwanikken read more »

Co-produced by STEIM and Netherlands Media Art Institute in Amsterdam and Claudio Buziol Foundation in Venice.
Supported by Fonds BKVB and Optofonica Laboratory for Immersive ArtScience in Amsterdam.

Sensitive to Pleasure is a work about conflict, an intimate piece in which the artist emphasizes her controversial relationship with her own work in front of the public.
Cillari stands outside the door of a dark Ambisonic cube, where she grants entry to only one visitor at a time. The cube features her work, a naked female (the 'creature'), which reveals the sound of its body when in contact with other human beings. The physical interaction between the creature and the visitor is linked to the artist's body via electrical pulses, provoking a strong physical experience in her which is painful but might also be considered pleasant. Cillari uses the visitor to gain a physical experience about her work.
The intimacy between the visitor and the creature inside will not be documented in order to guarantee intimacy and allow the visitor to fully experience the work through involvement and exposure. Cillari wants to explore ways in which visitors may interact with the creature knowing that their behavior causes a strong physical reaction on her outside the cube. At the same time, she explores the notion of voyeurism within the audience, watching her while she ‘experiences’ her own work of art.
A path of lights guides the visitor to the entrance of the cube; the lights' subtle changes reflect the encounters between the visitor and the creature, enhancing the sensuality of the work.

Sensitive to Pleasure is homage to Pygmalion (Ovid's Metamorphoses, X), the sculptor who falls in love with a statue he created. This work deals with an inverted relationship of control between the creator and his own creation. The physical connection between them represents keeping each other alive, a metaphor of mutually dependent relationship.

Sensitive to Pleasure connects with Sonia Cillari's latest research of working with and exploring the Body as Interface.

Project credits:
Hardware interface development: Stock
Environment programming: Ulrich Berthold
Ambisonic sound design and implementation: Maurizio Martinucci (aka Tez)

The process of the Artist in Residence can be followed at the blog:

This residency is a collaboration between two labs and an Art Foundation, based on a desire to investigate the ways and potential of working within a network of labs that support the exchange and sharing of resources and knowledge. The form of this collaboration aims to provide the most specific and relevant support to artists working on art and technology projects in residence. Knowing the capacities and competences of each lab/organisation, the residency exchange will offer targeted support (in the form of resources, space, technical support, local context and time) to be provided at different stages of the research and development of the project specific to each organisation. Off- and online dissemination of form and content via this partnership and the building of structural relationships are crucial to the collaboration.