Body Envelope / Nina Waisman

Presented by Montalvo Arts Center and ZERO1 as part of the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial performance series with support from the James Irvine Foundation

California-based artist Nina Waisman presents Body Envelope, an interactive sound installation and evening of performance at Montalvo’s historic Villa.

Body Envelope 2.1 comprises a six-foot square sound chandelier suspended in the center of the Main Hall of Montalvo’s historic Villa. Translucent tubes, wires and sensors are hung from the ceiling to create an amoeba-like three-dimensional envelope large enough for one body to move inside. Some sensors respond to the slightest bodily movements, others must be reached for conscientiously. When entered and played, Body Envelope will surround a body with sounds selected from wide reaches of experience, including animal, human and machine.

For this iteration of Body Envelope, Waisman has created a new soundscape drawing on site-specific and historic sounds connected to Montalvo. These include vintage cylinder recordings from the 1920s and sonic echoes of the high-life led by Senator Phelan and his guests at Villa Montalvo, mashed-up with the sometime-discordant sounds of life outside that dream-like bubble. Each visitor who interacts with Body Envelope will compose a shifting sonic cosmos as she tries to trigger particular kinds of sounds, which then change in pitch, speed, volume and spatialization, in relation to her movements.

Waisman will activate Body Envelope with a special dance performance she has developed in collaboration with New York-based choreographer Mariah Maloney, and Los Angeles-based choreographers, dancers and artists Natalie Metzger and Flora Wiegmann while in residence at Montalvo. Audience members will also be able to interact with and explore the piece. The performance will be followed by a Q & A discussion with the artist and her collaborators.

The performance is part of ZERO1's 9 evenings performance series, and will be presented at the Historic Villa at Montalvo Arts Center.
Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 7pm
Free Event

Nina Waisman

lives and works in Encinitas, CA

Artist website


Visual and media artist Nina Waisman works with technologically driven forms of control and communication, exploring their impact on the body’s actions in space and the mind’s perceptions of time. As a former dancer, she is especially interested in the role movement plays in forming our thoughts: such “physical thinking” has been posited by neurologists and cognitive scientists to be the pre-conscious scaffolding for all human logic. At the heart of Waisman’s work is this question: “How might our new technologically-inflected gestures shape our relationships with the bodies and systems we regularly encounter?” She endeavours to provide an answer through site-specific explorations of contemporary issues, such as the US/Mexico border, surveillance, nanotechnology, and the virtual-real continuum.