Lee Blalock’s multidisciplinary practice addresses the limits and future extensions of the body as enabled by emerging technology. Through performance, painting, and programming, she imagines the liberating potential of other worlds, bodies, and systems to “express all that is censored in the performance of everyday life.” sy5z3n_4: Medi(a)tation for Virtual Respiration replaces the natural act of breathing with a computational system of sound, data, and image, removing breath from the body. Here, fifty-six resin Buddha statues—modified with toy robot parts and outfitted with tambourine jingles, solenoids (coils of wire used as electromagnets), and LEDs—perform behaviors choreographed through custom software designed by the artist. Emphasizing the circular nature of breath, the Buddha statues are installed in a circle on a square pedestal reminiscent of a shrine, and surround a small monitor playing a video of a meditating cybermonk who performs their own algorithm. In sy5z3n_4: Medi(a)tation for Virtual Respiration, Blalock explores the dynamic form meditation can take when it is surrounded by signal and noise.
Lee Blalock is a Chicago-based artist and educator who presents alternative and hyphenated states of being through technology-mediated processes. Inspired by science fiction, futurism, and technology, her work is an exercise in body modification by way of amplified behavior or “change-of-state.” Blalock also works under the moniker L^2, whose most recent live work embraces noise and fissure as a natural state of being for bodies living in the information age. Superimposing custom module-based “Instr/augment” systems (what the artist calls “sy5z3ns”) onto performers, L^2 creates conditions for meditation through generative and repetitive behavior. Blalock is an Assistant Professor in the Art and Technology Studies Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BS from Spelman College, Atlanta. More about her work: http://www.leeblalock.com/