In 2006, I completed the ‘Shikoku 88’ pilgrimage in Japan. By forcing me to learn an entirely new way of navigating the world, this seven week walking experience changed the way I think about how people perceive and participate in the construction of their language, culture, environment, and selfhood. My research places these questions of perception and participation in the context of the communication networks and feedback loops of our contemporary systems-based paradigm. My recent artworks have explored the mechanisms behind signal transfer, meaning-making, self-regulating networks, and hive mind intelligence with the aim of raising questions about how we perceive our Selves and our surroundings.
I choose to work with generative systems because they speak directly to the underlying principles of this paradigm in which my questions exist, namely relationships, messaging, and feedback. My research focuses on process rather than outcome, allowing my compositions to produce emergent and indeterminate results. Within this experimental framework, I am able to integrate a wide variety of different media (electronics, video, sound, performance, installation) and modes of thinking (eastern, western, aesthetic, academic, intuitive) to compose systems that operate across multiple conceptual landscapes and self-articulate their own questions.
The resulting systems are ideally the simplest, most literal embodiment of a problem, which are then free to generate their own complexity, modeling the behavior of real-world networks and feedback loops. These generative systems often lend themselves to intermedial projects in artificial life modeling, social media, biohacking, zen philosophy, agency and authorship.
Alicia Champlin is based in Orono, Maine, having also made homes of Portland, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; Tokyo, Japan; and the American deep South. However, she is most at home while traveling the world in search of new experiences (and buried treasure). She is currently located in Orono, Maine, with frequent trips to Barcelona, while on the final stretch to defending her MFA thesis in the summer of 2018.
Champlin has exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo shows in Orono (Maine, USA) and Barcelona (Spain). In addition to performing, she also presents her research and custom interfaces in hands-on workshops and demonstrations of open-source technologies.
Drawing upon an academic background in Critical Methodologies and Japanese/Buddhist Art History, and a professional history in data processing and web technologies, Champlin joined the University of Maine’s Intermedia MFA program in 2015. Much of Champlin’s research prior to 2015 centered around pilgrimage, travel, and landscape as ways to communicate identity and make sense of our social environments. Aiming to be more than a tourist, she has visited sacred and secular destinations, followed pilgrimage routes, and taken on the role of pilgrim, seeker, and pathfinder.
Since beginning her MFA studies, Champlin’s research & creative practices have come to focus on feedback-driven, generative systems in pursuit of the phenomenological intersection of networked communication and identity. Drawing influence from the provocations of Alvin Lucier, Nam June Paik, Marina Abramović, and mentor N.B.Aldrich, her work aims to explore issues of agency, authorship, neutrality, and truth with process-based, interactive methodologies.
Currently, Champlin is working with biometric data as an interventionary control mechanism in live video and audio feedback loops. During her 2017 residency at Hangar Interactive Labs, she developed EEG and ECG instruments with Max/MSP for use in generative performance installations.