Heidi Kumao: Transplant

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Creation Year:



    video, machine art


Artist Statement:

    Emerging from the intersection of sculpture, theater, and engineering, Heidi Kumao’s video and machine art generates artistic spectacles in order to visualize the unseen: thought patterns, mental states, emotions, compulsions, and dreams. Through the creation of hybrid art forms (kinetic sculptures, animations, and interactive works), she explores the psychological underpinnings of everyday situations and institutional contexts, such as the nuclear family, mainstream media, and traditional gender roles. Transplant explores the lives of]apanese nationals and citizens who were interned in War Relocation Centers in the dusty desert of California during World War II, and how they cultivated gardens as a creative outlet to survive their confinement. Despite the horrendous conditions, residents of these “camps” constructed beautifully landscaped parks, ponds, and rock gardens. Transplant pays homage to their ingenuity and personal drive to transform gravel into gardens, altering their built environment as an act of defiance. This piece is part of the project Timed Release, a continuing series of intimate theater pieces about surviving confinement, supported by a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship.