Kelly Heaton is a visual and sound artist who makes circuits that are life-like. Her work combines electronics with collage, printmaking, and sculpture to transmute static artifacts into kinetic art. Using only electronic hardware (no code), she generates vibrating signals reminiscent of birdsong, musical insects, and spiritual apparitions. Heaton’s practice of electrical engineering stems from her belief that machine intelligence arises from physical components a priori to software. Her substantial body of work, which exists at the intersection of art and science, offers evidence that consciousness arises from the whole body, not thought constructs alone. Through her expansive concept of mind, Heaton aims to convey radical empathy for the myriad forms of intelligence inhabiting Earth’s ecological circuit. She is a graduate of Yale and the MIT Media Laboratory with representation by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts.
Bibiota consists of two separate interactive works using children’s toys. Reflective Loop, a computer-activated wall of “Furby” toys that react to viewers’ proximity, is already completed. The second, Live Pelt, is a piece of women’s fashion apparel made entirely from previously owned “Tickle Me Elmo” dolls, which have been “eviscerated” to create the sculpture. Live Pelt also includes a scrapbook of photos from the previous owners of the dolls. When Live Pelt is touched or worn, it vibrates and giggles, providing a grotesquely humorous experience for the viewer. Additional elements of the Bibiota installation include a series of photographs of young girls wearing commercially available Tickle Me Elmo costumes and a video of Heaton herself wearing the Live Pelt sculpture in public.