Kelly Heaton is a mixed-media artist who believes that electricity is the most important medium of our time.

Artist Bio

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.

Sculpture, Software
Award Year



Kelly Heaton

Boyce, VA

Kelly Heaton is a mixed-media artist who believes that electricity is the most important medium of our time. She uses circuits to explore the “spark of life” in biological organisms as well as machines, acting as a techno-spiritualist to portray the immaterial character of her subjects. Some of her work contains functional circuits that seem oddly alive. Heaton asks us to contemplate the transformative impact of electricity on society and the degree to which we have diverged from wilderness. Meanwhile, she looks to electronics for the emergence of new symbols and archetypes for our high-tech civilization.

Heaton’s art has been featured in exhibitions in the United States and internationally, including the ADAA Art Show, The Science Gallery at Trinity College, the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, and three solo shows at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts in New York. Her work has been reviewed in numerous publications, including The New York Times, New York Magazine, NY Arts, The Village Voice, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Hyperallergic, and Art das Kunstmagazin. She is the recipient of grants from The Peter S. Reed Foundation, LEF Foundation, Council for the Arts at MIT, and the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Program. In 2001, she won the L’Oreal Promotion Prize in the Art and Science of Color for her research with physical pixels. She has been awarded residencies at Otis College of Art and Design, MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Duke University, Tortuga Escondida, and Art Interactive. Kelly Heaton received her Bachelor of Art degree from Yale University in 1994, and her Master of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000.