Acquisition Highlight: Laura Splan’s Squint


Digital & Electronic Art

Recently acquired by the Foundation, Laura Splan’s Squint is a contemporary tapestry that bridges our Digital and Op Art collections. Squint is a work of optical art, in the sense that the artist’s eye behaviors are recorded in the textile’s pattern. On view beginning September 10 at Arena 1 in Santa Monica, CA, Squint is a data-driven pattern derived from electronic, biometric measurements. Imagery in the tapestry was created as the artist conducted an EMG (electromyogram) reading of the electricity levels in her muscles as she squinted, holding electrodes to the muscles surrounding her eye. That data was input in Processing software, an open source programming language developed by artists Ben Fry and Casey Reas. The program determined the image’s final composition and color.

Splan says of her inspiration that “the project started out of an investigation of the sense of wonder. I wanted to perform wonder, and to manifest that feeling. Darwin hypothesized that if you physically perform happiness (i.e., smile) you will feel happy. The artwork, then, is an expression of wonder.”

Laura Splan holds an MFA from Mills College, and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.