Juliet Davis

Artist Statement


My art practice explores intersections of gender and technology, with particular interest in cyberfeminism. I find myself working in new media because of its unusual narrative possibilities, but also because of its ironic and politically charged space. We are culturally constructing and reconstructing the body in relationship to an interactive digital domain that is often associated with hybrid embodiment and mutating identities. As electronic culture problematizes representation, so too does it provide opportunities for exploring identity in new ways. With two degrees in English and one in Visual Art, I am not so much interested in formalistic/generative manifestations of digital art as I am in dramatic manifestations - i.e., what meaningful things we can say, stories we can tell, and actions we can take in these media.

The project entitled Altar-ations (www.julietdavis.com/studio/altar-ations) is a wedding planner gone awry to question who is really in control of feminine identity and gender construction. Navigating the site triggers interviews with young people contemplating marriage, family, and reproductive technologies. For example, the "Choose Your Engagement Ring" section features an interview with Fiona May, who tells about how the blood diamond trade impacted her home country of Sierra Leone, and how her family fled from civil war.

Pieces of Herself (www.julietdavis.com/studio/piecesofherself) is an ironic exploration of feminine embodiment and identity in relationship to public and private space. Using a drag-and-drop game interface, viewers scroll through familiar environments (e.g., domestic, outdoor, work) to collect metaphoric "pieces" of the self and arrange them in compositions inside the body. As each piece enters the body, it triggers audio clips from interviews with women, music loops, sound effects, etc., so that layered narratives form. The project, which was inspired by Elizabeth Grosz's theories about embodiment, comments on social inscription of the body. The environments are composites of more than 400 photographs, the pieces include 40 vector drawings, and the audio clips include segments from interviews with 10 women.

Polystyrene Dream (www.julietdavis.com/studio/barbie.html) uses our country's four-decade fascination with the Barbie doll to look at how we package even the most unnerving aspects of culture, from war to religion and reproductive technologies. Barbie poses by the flames of 911, appears in Da Vinci's Last Supper with the song "It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To," and opens her own fertility clinic.

Juliet Davis Bio

Juliet Davis is an intermedia artist, writer, and researcher, teaching theory and practice in interactive media, visual culture, and media writing, with particular interest in cyberfeminism. Her work has exhibited internationally in such venues as SIGGRAPH, ISEA, FILE, Institute of Contemporary Art (London), MAXXI Museum (Rome), and The International Museum of Women (USA), as well as locally and nationally in venues such as the Tampa Museum of Art and Iowa Review Web. Her most recent article entitled "Fractured Cybertales: Navigating the Feminine" is forthcoming in Leonardo (MIT Press), and her past writing has appeared in other peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Film and Video (University of Illinois Press) and Media-N: Journal of the New Media Caucus.