Audra Wolowiec

There is a translation between language, image and objects within your work. What does this translation mean to you and what role does the body play in mediating between these different states? 

It’s not often that I think about the distinctions between these forms, where one begins and one ends. Language, images, and objects seem to exist in very fluid categories for me. Objects formed through images, images formed through language, and language formed through physicality. It’s in these sensory shifts that new meanings emerge, connections are made in the spaces between. The body ultimately plays role as the mediator, through a process of receiving and transmitting signals, where a tender politics can be developed and nurtured through an intimate, corporeal engagement. I was just at the Robert Gober show here in New York and was very moved by his newspaper prints overlaid with drawings of fragmented connections between two people—a couple, a father and son—truncated only to show points of touch, where foot caresses leg, where arm traces outline. The images spoke of deep human connection and unthinkable tragedy. The experience highlighted the importance of returning to the body, how to engage haptic memory as a bridge to understanding. Modes of attentive listening come to mind, as well as how the personal can always related to the political. Clarice Lispector, in her book Near to the Wild Heart, writes: “The quality of these incidents was such, that you couldn’t remember them by speaking. Or even by thinking in words. The only way was to stop for a moment and feel it again.”


I think this is where my interest in the breath comes in, it extends from the body yet remains interior, it’s both public and private and completely universal to human experience. It carries our voice in the absence of language, it speaks volumes. This might sound obvious but it’s something that seems to be overlooked. Attention to breath is something that requires close listening, proximity, a certain intimacy and a slowing down. Instead of trying to fill the gaps, I try to create them, allowing spaces for others to inhabit and emergent connections to form.


A short video excerpt of Warm-up can be viewed here, or for more information please see here.