Join us for a live performance “Ghost Work” by video and performance artist EL Putnam. Mary Gray and Siddharth Suri define ghost work as the hidden human labor that powers our digital systems. In the performance of this title, Putnam acts as the human mediator between two generative animation systems, making visible the labor that responds to and produces data, as her body acts as the database of lived experience.
EL Putnam is an artist-philosopher working in performance art, video, sound, and digital media. Her practice focuses on borders and entanglements, particularly the interplay of the corporeal with the machinic. Through her artistic practice, she is interested in exploring hidden histories and emotional experiences, testing the limits of their un-representability as she takes the familiar and makes it strange. In particular, she probes our gestural relationship to digital technology using wearable electronics in live performance, through the creation of responsive multimedia installations, and the crafting of short moving image and sound pieces.
Treating art as inherently participatory, her work opens intersubjective spaces that offer multiple conceptual and aesthetic points of entry for the audience through alchemical diffractions of experience, cultivating new modes of embodiment. In addition to creating works that are rich in cultural and political meaning, including the biopolitics of motherhood in Ireland, she is interested in how aesthetic pleasure can be used as a critical strategy, or as a means of captivating audiences in order to expose them to provocative ideas.
EL actively presents artworks and performances in the United States, Europe, and beyond, and has been a member of the Boston-based Mobius Artists Group since 2009. Originally from the United States, she is Assistant Professor in Digital Media at Maynooth University, Ireland and lives in Co. Westmeath, Ireland.