Debra Solomon (US/NL) creates experiential interventions aimed at breaking down the barriers between art and viewer. The result is to make visitors alert to the existence of a myriad alternative realities that can be tapped into at any time.
In the project the_living, Solomon devised a series of performances, a 'wardrobe of live moments' showing a digi-persona (nicknamed the_living) apparently engaging, realtime, with new media. In a sequence of spectacular settings, (underwater in a swimming pool, in an ice cave, biking her way through the Dutch landscape, boating in Amsterdam's canals, spinning on a Ferris wheel etc...) Solomon invited audience participants to join in digi-persona the-living's fictional narratives and, with her, re-enact moments of their lives on-line. Playing a real-life tamagotchi the-living asked her audience community to pretend-along. She stated, We live in Japan in a little plastic egg, little children will play us, evoking the plot-line of William Gibson's Idorum. In 2000 Solomon's digi-persona the-living and her sidekick 'Blossom' engaged in truck-stop performances across the United States as part of the Birthplaces of Digital Mythology World Tour.
In her physical interventions, Solomon uses the architectural 'grid' to reference both virtual space and to raise doubts about our cultural and physical perspective. In the form of immense wall-to-floor drawings, Solomon's black-light illuminated grid-environments immerse the viewer in a hallucinogenic subversion of individual perceptions of reality physical and mental. Transformed by a skein of lines, the space is re-invented, and seems to fold back in on itself like an origami box. (Project Brainstorm).
In the Artist-Astronaut (2000-), the grid reappeared as the black-light/holodeck backdrop through which selected participants supposedly travelled in time to the year 2050, led to believe they had witnessed or participated in a mission several decades into the future. The work explored the effects that artist intervention could have in space exploration video from Artist-Astronaut 'future sessions' was presented to the European Space Agency and at the International Astronautical Federation Congress.
Solomon's worked has been shown at the PS1 New York; Kunsthal, Rotterdam; V2_Organisation Rotterdam; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Offenes Kultur Haus Linz. She has lectured widely, including UC Berkeley, the International Astronautics Federation Congress, and currently teaches on the MFA programme of the Dutch Art Institute, Enschede, the Netherlands.