One doesn’t tend to associate technology with spiritual experiences but an ambitious installation set to be unveiled at next weekend’s Brighton Mini Maker Faire could change that.
Break The Mould invites visitors to revisit the experience of being in the womb by stepping inside a giant model of a female containing a 3D body scanner. Enveloped in ambient lighting, they will hear the sound of two heartbeats before stepping outside to receive a miniature, 3D-printed sculpture of their own body.
The installation has been created by Emilia Telese, an Italian multimedia artist based in Brighton, in conjunction with Brighton digital agency Developing Dreams. It completes a series of works Telese has made which explore the theme of motherhood.
“I think there’s a feeling that technology can be rather dry and slightly masculine and I was interested in challenging that notion,” she says of Break The Mould. “I wanted to use these technologies to create something feminine and spiritual – to recreate the experience of being born.”
Previously Telese has made a public art project in Denmark that shows the joint heartbeat of a mother and child and her work Life Begins At Land’s End (shown at the Musée de Louvre in Paris and pictured above) saw 17 pregnant women brought together to form an infinity circle.
There were personal reasons behind the motherhood series – her sister and cousin had recently given birth – but Telese had also been struck by how Italy, a largely matriarchal society where the role of “the mother” looms large, is currently experiencing an unprecedented rise in domestic violence and murders of women at the hands of men.
I think it’s more important than ever to recognise and celebrate the strength of women,”
says Telese. “I find what’s happening in Italy frightening and unacceptable.”
Telese believes art is a means of posing questions and she is particularly interested in examining social attitudes. “I like to create situations that people have to respond to,” she says.
The rise of celebrity culture inspired a performance piece in the centre of Venice in which, wearing black glasses and trailed by paparazzi, her assumed celebrity status attracted crowds so large a branch of Gucci had to be shut down.
Other projects have seen her spend eight hours in a suitcase in Southend library, eat rosaries in Sigmund Freud’s house and construct a rice replica of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion to highlight global poverty.
“Art is a very good means of discussing things you couldn’t express in any other way,” she says. “I don’t believe it can or should provide answers but I think it’s important in inspiring conversations.”
The possibilities and uses of 3D printing will be one of the key strands of discussion at this year’s Brighton Mini Maker Faire, a showcase of invention and creativity that brings together craftspeople, teachers, artists, scientists, musicians and more. Other topics for debate include credit card-sized computers, digital firework displays, the toys of the future and how making can benefit society.
* Brighton Mini Maker Faire is on Saturday, September 7. For more on Developing Dreams visit www.developingdreams.com.
Tickets £5. For full details, visit www.makerfairebrighton.com.
Artist Emilia Telese tells Nione Meakin how the rise of domestic violence in Italy inspired her motherhood project “I don’t believe art can or should provide answers but I think it’s important in inspiring conversations