Seemingly divergent perspectives converge in Diane Willow's practice of art as a socially engaged mode of tuning our attention to ephemeral experiences in everyday places. Two kinds of places have influenced her recent work, highly mobile urban settings that become familiar over time yet remain anonymous, and urban edges that call attention to the fluidity of the conceptual margins that we typically use to distinguish the built and natural environment. Ambient Sites is an exploration of the contemporary experience of being in motion, transiting through familiar sites rather than occupying them. Within this context, she is interested in creating empathetic moments of awareness that shift the sensory experience of passersby. Her approach repositions the nature of contemplative experience generally perceived of as solitary and removed from the flow of life to one that sparks social engagement.
As a multi-modal artist, Diane Willow works among disciplines and media. By any medium necessary best describes her process. Her interests are at a nexus of art and technology, science, architecture, and design. By necessity and passion she has initiated and participates in new forms of interdisciplinary collaborations. While artist in residence and researcher at the MIT Media Lab she co-curated the studio based symposium "Digital Dialogues: Technology in the Hand" and more recently initiated the Studio Co-Laboratory, a cross college faculty research collaborative at the University of Minnesota. Willow has been an Osher Fellow at the Exploratorium and a fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Advanced Study. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Experimental and Media Arts area within the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota, with an appointment as artist in residence in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a faculty appointment in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies.
Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin
Photo credit: Scala / Art Resources, NY