Kristin McWharter is an artist whose practice uses multidisciplinary approaches to interrogate the relationship between competition and intimacy. She often integrates novel technologies and unexpected material forms to conjoin viewers within immersive sculptural installations and viewer- inclusive performances. Inspired by 20th century sports narrative, collective decision making, and technology as a contemporary spiritual authority, her work imagines new and alternative forms of social behaviors and relationships. Blurring the boundaries of social intimacy and hype culture the work challenges viewer's relationships to affection and antagonism within the larger social context.
Her work has been exhibited widely including at The Hammer Museum, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Bangkok Arts and Cultural Center, Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria, Museo Altillo Beni in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, and FILE Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil. McWharter is an Assistant Professor in Art & Technology Studies at SAIC and received her MFA from UCLA in Design Media Arts. She teaches courses in experimental media, art & technology practices, and virtual reality.
How to be a Good Sport
I am struck by how access to virtual “togetherness” keeps us together at this time, it’s difficult to imagine if we would be able to coordinate as effectively without the assistance of webcams, living documents, and digital entertainment. However, I think this increasingly digital world also exposes perhaps a misleading rhetoric around what we mean by “connecting”. Adapting from the physical to an online format feels in some ways like an athletic feat. We are all training to compete in a changing world where the vulnerabilities of our bodies are driving our decision making. It seems to me that the same structural inequalities that separate us in our physical world similarly affect and mediate our virtual relationships and so right now I am very interested in what it means for people to be “failing“ as digital athletes.