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Walk Back to Your Body

September 3, 2022 11:00 am - January 1, 2023 4:00 pm

Daydream Chapel by Peng Wu

Walk Back to Your Body

Fall 2022

Curated by Boris Oicherman

What does it mean to be in conversation with your body? Many social, cultural, and political conventions we live by today discipline how we experience our bodies. They are often defined by their productivity, utility, fitness, and so on, but rarely through vulnerability and reflection. The exhibition Walk Back to Your Body at the Weisman Art Museum in 2019 presented works by four artists who collaborated for a year with researchers at the Medical School of the University of Minnesota, all reconsidering the ways in which our bodies feature (or, perhaps, do not feature?) in our daily lives, thus disrupting the automatized ways in which we navigate the world. The exhibition in 2022 will spread out in the architecture of the Rochester Art Center, presenting a new evolution of works by the same artists.

Social practice artist Peng Wu’s presented the Daydream Chapel: a product of collaboration with neurologist and sleep researcher Dr. Michael Howell. Peng’s installation is dedicated to that spiritual and sacred experience that lies at the heart of basic human need: rest and sleep. In an increasingly restless and disconcerting world, Daydream Chapel invited viewers to lie down alongside a stranger and stop, if only for a moment, to go “off the clock” and engage in equal, sincere, and intimate conversations. 

The new site-specific installation at the Rochester Art Center will be specifically designed for the tall atrium space.  Hung from the roof and a few feet above the ground, the large sculpture will allow people to nap inside while slowly swinging together. Inspired by our childhood memory of swing bed, the artwork questions everything that has kept us away from such pure and restful experience. As a protest and public demonstration, we peacefully nap together.

Anna Marie Shogren’s interactive installation Work/Lifelong Choreographies was inspired by her experiences as a dance artist and a caregiver. In collaboration with Kristine Talley of the School of Nursing, as well as Amanda Sharp from Physical Therapy and Elizabeth Bye and Caroline Albers from Apparel Design, Anna’s improvisational movement practice invited viewers to experience the physical conditions of older adults. Wearable garments such as the Neuropathy Gloves and the Shoulder Impingement Shirt animate conversations about the realities of age and loss of vitality by provoking playful, tactile fascination with movement. 

At the Rochester Art Center, this empathic exploration will be extended through a rolling relational work which will realize vigils (spaces for active dying) for self-selecting individuals at this current point in their lives, for the purpose of activating love, comfort, and self-advocacy now, and/or an embodied planning for later. Shogren is collaborating with stylist and musician, Lisa Loew, and in conversation with hospice nurses in Edina and Rochester to create these experiences and environments largely through donated or volunteered resources. A still to be known, gracious translation of these intimate pieces will be brought to Rochester Art Center for this exhibition.

Alison Hiltner’s work produced tactile, physical surfaces through which one can experience the heartbeat. Hiltner collaborated with biotechnology researcher Dr. Brenda Ogle, neurophysiologist Dr. Paul Laizzo, and software programmers Brian Hadyen and artist Maxwell Hoaglund to create an interface that allows participants to “hold” one another’s heartbeat. Translating the most familiar signal of life, the heartbeat, into a touchable surface, it highlights that all life forms long for connection. Something that can be shared and felt in real time. It is a link to our interior physiological structure, every heartbeat represents an individual experience either on a psychological or physiological level. It is intimate and communal, abstracted yet more real than we can normally touch. An ever-changing multi experiential piece that enables us to hold a heartbeat, revealing how our connection is always just beneath the surface. Hiltner will further examine what lies beneath with a new work in consultation with Dr. Tay Netoff, professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, producing a visual experience of brain reactivity.

Yuko Taniguchi and her collaborator, psychiatrist Dr. Kathryn Cullen, explored the impact of creative practices on the wellbeing of adolescents facing pressing mental health challenges. Her resultant poem, Walk Back To Your Body, also synthesized her own experiences of collaboration with those of the other artists in the exhibition. Yuko’s piece hones in on the nature of the relationship forged between the bodily and the cerebral, as does the work by Peng, Anna, and Alison. Walk Back To Your Body is therefore the guiding sentiment of this exhibition which calls to bring us back into our bodies from all the places that our minds take us to.

At the Rochester Art Center, Yuko plans to explore the collective contemplation of mental health challenges through a motion poem based on her poem, “Inside my eyes.”  

Sponsored by the University of Minnesota Rochester to honor the centrality of wellbeing and creativity to our campus community of students, faculty and staff.


September 3 11:00 am
January 1, 2023 4:00 pm
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