Ann Arbor, MI
For over thirty years, Heidi Kumao has developed an expanded art practice that includes animations, video installations, photographs, machine art, and fabric works that give physical form to the intangible parts of our lives: our emotions, psychological states, memories, thinking patterns. Her hybrid artworks have included electromechanical girl’s legs that “misbehave,” video installations about surviving confinement, surreal, experimental stop motion puppet animations, performative staged photographs, and hand crafted cinema machines.
She has exhibited her award-winning artwork in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally including the Art Science Museum Singapore, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, the Museum of Image and Sound (São Paulo) and the Museum of Modern Art in Buenos Aires. Her work is in permanent and private collections including the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Arizona State University Art Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Exploratorium in San Francisco. She has received fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Creative Capital Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a professor at the Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Misbehaving: Media Machines Act Out
For over thirty years, Heidi Kumao has developed an expanded art practice that includes animations, video installations, photographs, machine art, and fabric works that give physical form to the intangible parts of our lives: our emotions, psychological states, memories, thinking patterns.Artist Bio
Misbehaving: Media Machines Act Out is a series of three female, kinetic “performers.” In each of the tableaux, a mechanized pair of aluminum girl’s legs fitted with shoes “speaks” through erratic physical gestures or video imagery, representing women and girls who disobey or resist expectations. Custom mechanics, electronic circuits, proximity sensors, and a microphone make them responsive to the presence of viewers. In Resist, a pair of girl’s legs squirms on the floor in response to viewers’ speech and in a way that is both sexualized and challenging. The legs in Protest stomp loudly and unpredictably while standing on a coffee table. Translator explores the language of non-verbal gestures between a child and two adults. Viewers move the girl between opposing half-scale armchairs each with video projector heads. Unlike a typical interpreter, this translator exposes the power relationship behind each interaction by physically embodying the conversation.