Olivia Robinson, "Letter", 2002, viewmaster, slide film, fabric.

Olivia Robinson, “Letter”, 2002, viewmaster, slide film, fabric.

Olivia Robinson

a Cat, a String, and a Metaphor

I adopted a feral kitten from a librarian at school, thinking “feral” meant the same as “stray.” She was not like any other cat I had met before — a ball of hissing, scratching, hiding fur. I brought her home and I named her Pearl. Every day for the next two weeks, I located her new hiding place, checked to see if she had eaten, and tried to interact without getting attacked. Just at the point I thought adopting Pearl was a big mistake, I dangled a string in front of her and she came out of her hiding place. This string made her forget that I was a stranger and gave us a way to be together.

Art making is, for me, like Pearl’s string. I have worked with a variety of media and situations – photography, video, inflatable sculpture, performance, community art, collaborative art – and continually return to this string metaphor. Exploring new media and technology – my string – distracts me, entices me, and frees me to experience new sides of myself and to build relationships.

My most recent projects merge the highly technical with the deeply personal. I incorporate sculpture, video, technology, and human interaction through touching, cranking, or shaking. Using technology, I can create art that explores and expresses a great deal about relationships.

A current resident of Troy, NY, Olivia Robinson earned her MFA in 2004 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. She has been in exhibitions and performances at the Boston Cyberarts Festival, the Corcoran Museum in Washington DC, Deep Listening Space in Kingston, the Center for Contemporary Art in Seattle, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Robinson has participated in residencies at the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Wendover, Utah; the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida; and been awarded grants and fellowships from the Pauline Oliveros Foundation, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the Maryland State Arts Council. She has presented lectures and workshops at the Massachusetts College of Art and the Maryland Institute College of Art, and works professionally as a computer programmer for artists. In addition Olivia has been a costume designer, video arts instructor, and is the co-director of Little Big Bang, a community based not for profit performance troupe.