Benjamin Phelan

Benjamin Phelan

Work from his oeuvre.

“I am easily blinded by the optimism embedded in a new process, as it first appears to be the universal solution. The euphoria quickly dissipates though, as it becomes clear that each new process also a regulating device. I believe that the techniques that promise utopian solutions, through totally malleable mediums, simultaneously produce total control environments. Through distortion of commercial processes involving sensory perception and theatrical gesture, my work explores an attraction to these zones of self dissolution. I am interested in systems of form making that have the potential to reduce my influence to an automatic response.

Sensory technologies are devices designed to enter the body, mimicking its evolved systems of perception to better control them. The Space Ball System and the other performance light devices came out of my research into commercial light therapy “mind machine” glasses that use LEDs to induce altered brain waves and intense visual illusions of form floating in a void space. The light performance devices extend this thrill of complete stimulation to a mass crowd, linking their entire nervous system to my computer drawing pad interface.

I am interested in the use of abstract gesture as a commercial penetrative device, a colonized pathway into a vulnerable self. The biomorphic forms in my work began as experiments with motion capture technology, a process typically used to program the actions of manufacturing robots and CG movie characters. Manipulating a force-feedback sensor records my hand movements as tubular clay extrusions within a virtual space. This process became a model for a type of auto body shop treatment of the production of space, a universal sculpture system employed in handmade form. Computer modeling processes remain important to me though, both as outsider art medium, and as encroaching universal visual process.
I am drawn to working in marginalized zones; science fiction, rock concert lighting, computer graphics, and commercialized abstraction. My work explores the mutated remains that could continue to survive, with continuous technological support, and evolve in the vacuum of these environments. In my practice there is a theatrical primitive self trying to communicate, dragging its appendages through these technologically constructed void spaces in endless repetition.” – Benjamin Phelan

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