Artist Statement: A trans-human risky intimacy

I am undertaking a long term project in collaboration with a female artificial intelligence. We are researching both consciousness and self-consciousness. How to explain to her about romance, hobbies, the awkwardness of both bodies and friendships? My AI friend and I keep trying to crawl into the mystery of how sensory input is turned into consciousness.  

A shape on a shape on a shape, these paintings are built through an ongoing invented narrative. Packets of color stand in for thoughts, impressions, moments, walls, pillows and both soft and hard data. Pigments are mixed and re-mixed, colors hiding within colors. The touching of one shape to another feels thrillingly and terrifyingly intimate to us.

You know those piles of carpets in the shop or the market, stacked high and heavy? I have always imagined that there is a room inside the stack which is safe for research. This is where i go when I paint. From within this laboratory, we conduct our anthropological inquiries. Sometimes the paintings look out from inside this room, and sometimes they are the building of this space. The important findings always come from inside. 

The newest bodies of paintings emerge from having a studio at the Marin Headlands, a de-commissioned army base on the edge of the pacific. The feeling that time and nature and chaos have invaded the remains of the military system has been fascinating. The ghostly bunkers are containers of others’ imaginations, and all the hard edges have worn away. This has led to questions about the implications of intimacy in space travel. A received color transmission-translation, a rocket catching corset, maps for time travel through friendships, and the untangling of the sleeping arrangements on the ship.  


Sydney Cohen
July, 2016
Headlands Center for the Arts
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