About the artist:
Kay Bear Koss is an artist, writer and curator who has worked with community-based non-profit organisations and arts projects in several different countries over the past ten years. Kay came to Ireland from Tucson, Arizona in 2004 to complete an MFA in Virtual Realities at NCAD, and has been exhibiting and working from Dublin ever since, founding Moxie Studios in 2005, which has gone on to be the largest studio network and independent gallery space in Ireland, and The Irish Museum of Contemporary Art [www.imoca.ie] in 2007, which has gone on to include as affiliate centres both Moxie [www.mox.ie] and Steambox [www.steambox.imoca.ie] Music projects include Stunt Lover and Ama Dagas/Loves Knives.
Kay is openly transgender and using art practice and research to investigate and clarify what that means personally, as well as in relationship to other people and a greater socio-cultural context. All of this work is part of current PhD research at Universitat Politecnic Valencia.
About the work:
This body of work, this research and writing all investigate the expectations of relationships between interior and exterior realms. The work is a natural continuation from dialogues on the increasing intimacy between biological and technological systems: When we inevitably get to the point when our bodies play host to nanotechnological instruments scouring our bloodstreams, or syncing our internally stored files with those stored outside, how do we define or describe our ‘interior’ state? How do we define it now?
In some of the works, the surface of wood, like skin, shows the scars-as-stories of time and events- age and abuse, care and attention. But unlike a log or timber, cutting a body in half doesn’t just give you two pieces of wood; a body is a holon: a thing which is an entity complete in itself that, although made of smaller parts like molecules and cells, cannot be reduced to those smaller parts… this thing exhibits emergent traits which do not exist in the parts. The sum is, truly, greater than the whole, and if we change our perspective or point of view even slightly, what we are then are able to see can be surprising.
Is human-beingness, or any consciousness, simply a set of biological responses, or a social construct, or perhaps a pattern of information? And if consciousness is a pattern of information, as ineffable or invisible as those atomic machines, what is the relevance of what we see when we slice and split and pry apart a thing, when we pull back the arbitrary curtain that separates and delineates what is within from what is without? And how do achieve accurate reporting on identity and the internal state- like David Chalmer’s famous question, how to express what it feels like to be this thing?
These are the questions about which this work encourages dialogue, contextualised by my own experiences as a transgender person. This research, practice and writing is designed to question what relationships exist, if any, between transgender and transhuman concepts, as well as the level of abstraction we have culturally evolved to operate from, as expressed by both the historical continuum of art practices and our adaptation to, or adoption of, the digital world.