A brief introduction to the artists and their working methods:
|We are collaborative installation artists based in Philadelphia who produce site-specific multi-media work. Carolyn Healy creates the sculpture, employing mostly found or salvaged materials, and designs all the lighting. John JH Phillips composes the sound and video components and is responsible for system design and programming. Together we synthesize all elements into immersive, sensory-rich installations, often located in unusual and underused spaces. We have created works for an abandoned prison, an historic saw factory, a Venetian cloister, a 19th c. dye-works, a freight elevator, a shopfront in Beijing, numerous empty buildings and warehouses, as well as more traditional galleries and museums. Our artistic process begins with the site: our first ideas are suggested by the setting itself,
ranging from the subject, and what materials are appropriate to its expression, to thoughts about how to highlight or incorporate forms and atmospheric qualities inherent to the architecture. Because our installations are designed to resonate with their particular surroundings, each exists in one place for one time only.
Our artistic goal is to captivate on a purely sensory level while offering layers of abstraction and metaphor that take time to unfold and engage the imaginative powers of our audience. We invest each piece with our own meanings, derived from our investigation of a chosen theme - personal, literary, philosophical, scientific, historical or some combination thereof - but this is really just the soil in which a viewer's own reactions can take root. Beyond encouraging interpretation as a creative act, we hope to foster a lasting change in our visitors' visual and aural sensitivity and awareness that will enhance experience of the larger world. The ingredients of an installation can work synergistically to enliven our senses, offering a ground against which to observe one’s own mental processes. Drawing attention to some cognitive events, particularly perceptions that do not "jive" with linear, day-to-day reality seems to allow the mind to roam (or sometimes even jump) to unexpected places. It is our experience that working abstractly is the best way to foster this sense of mental openness.
Our first large-scale work, in 1987, was a soundscape and set-design for a minimalist performance piece of James Joyce's Molly Bloom soliloquy from Ulysses. Since then we have evolved the strategies of time-based avant-garde theater by replacing the actor or musician with a viewer/listener. Still, we remain influenced by the magic of live theater; particularly by the dramatic potential of sound, light and shadow. While we continue to expand our tools, experimenting with interactivity, new lighting technologies, real-time non-repetitive music composition, and sophisticated choreography of sound, image and objects, we try to keep technology as invisible as possible and always at the service of beauty and poetry in art.
Carolyn Healy is an installation artist who began her career exhibiting small, abstract sculptures made of found objects at the Marian Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, in 1979. Since 1987 she has created numerous large site-specific installation pieces, some for performance events and many in collaboration with sound and video artist John Phillips. These have been seen in museums and university galleries as well as performance and alternative environments, nationally and internationally, including Carnegie Mellon University; La Mama and Symphony Space, NYC; the Cini Foundation, Venice, Italy; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Crosswaves Festival at The Annenberg Center, Philadelphia; historic Eastern State Penitentiary; Museum of American Art at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; the International Computer Music Conference in Ann Arbor in 1998 and in Beijing, China in 1999; the Philadelphia Live Arts and Fringe Festivals, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004; and Hidden City Philadelphia 2009. Carolyn has received five individual artist Fellowships in Interdisciplinary Art from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a 2002 grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, a New Forms Regional Grant funded in part by the NEA, as well as numerous project support grants from the Leeway Foundation, the Dietrich Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.
John Phillips is a sound and video artist. His work has included interactive sound pieces and collaborative sound/sculpture/video installations in museums (Museum of American Art at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia), alternative spaces (Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia; Cini Foundation, Venice, Italy; Fringe Festival, Philadelphia) and various university art galleries (Dartmouth, University of Michigan, Carnegie Mellon among others). His tape works have been performed at New York City dance and theater venues, international electronic art festivals and on nationally syndicated New American Radio. His live sound and video performances have been featured in numerous venues in Philadelphia and also in New York City; his composing has been supported by American Composers Forum (collaboration with Pauline Oliveros) and the Millay Colony (composer in residence) and he has enjoyed five residencies at the Experimental Television Center to pursue his video work. Grants include the National Endowment for the Arts 1995-6, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts 1991, 1993, 1995, 1999 and 2006.