working artists


Jen Zen
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artist statement | technical statement | process

artist statement
"When Manfred E. Clynes and Nathan S. Line created the term cyborg in 1960, short for cybernetic organism, the concept was a spunky way to think about conquering new frontiers in alien environments." (Tyler Stallings)

"The Cyborg is resolutely committed to partiality, irony, intimacy, and perversity. When boundaries are being transgressed and when fusions create new entities, then it is hard to discern between the natural and artificial, especially in today's technology mediated society." (Donna Harraway)

My cyborgs appear so quietly you could hear a hawk's pinion feathers rasp against an updraft of wavy hot air before they came upon you. Floating across the salt flats, they are husks, sharp, dry, weird and eerie. They resonate as crackled memories of survivors who fled from fears of final conflict, seeking peace in a parched earth. Squeezed out of my own contradictions, they can stay alive in Death Valley, an ancient and elementally awesome place, a sanctuary of great majesty, refuge and inspiration.

I have innate joy in creating things that have never existed, and a horror that every "thing", manufactured masks displacement of vital life forces that become increasingly distanced from being. The sense of power and misery in this vulnerability is astonishing. On a bad day I worry that my interactive work with computers will contribute in any way to the triumph of the undead and the unborn. On a good day, I look forward to hearing a rock talk back.

Someday, I would like to exhibit my cybertouch shells as they were originally intended to exist. They are life-sized, 3D, virtual figures of light - that are at the same time frozen gestures, literal songs, and 2D fictions. Until then . . . which could take years . . . I can tease you with print composites. They can be deconstructed as artifacts of unprecedented science; non-sequitors that look like really cool sci-fi movie stills