Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

In the Studio / Erika Lincoln

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Listen up, Winnipeg! Local electronic-media artist Erika Lincoln is trying to key you into the connections that are heard or unheard in our daily lives. Through wiring and programming electronic media with natural materials, she creates incredible sculptures that investigate our communication with both the natural and electronic world around us -- often down to the tiniest wire. Lincoln gives us a glimpse into her complex and fascinating art practice.


How would you describe your work?

I would describe my work as Electronic Art. I use electronics both as a medium and a concept. As a medium, I use electronic circuits, computers, sensors, motors, video and audio signals as materials that drive the works and as physical materials that make up the work. As a concept, I am interested in technologies that are electronically controlled and in this day and time that pretty much means most technologies, from coffee makers to particle accelerators. The idea that we as humans rely on the mostly invisible process of the flow of electrons down a wire in so many aspects of our lives fascinates me.


What goes into making one of your pieces?

I am constantly looking, thinking, and sketching or writing. For me it is a three-fold process -- I find something in the world that engages me, I research the "thing" through direct observation and through secondary sources -- writings, images. I then go into the studio and build the works, which involves gathering materials, designing, and constructing until I feel that the piece is finished. While I describe the process as linear, in actuality there is way more leeway involved.


What are you trying to say with your art?

Though my work I hope to convey the interconnectedness of things in the world. The world is dynamic place where processes are occurring at all times and humans are part of that, not separated from it. Things don't happen in isolation: our actions are reflected back to us in one way or another -- for example, urban birds mimicking car-alarm and cellphone sounds in their song repertoires.


What is it like being an artist in Winnipeg today?

Being an artist in Winnipeg can be a Gordian negotiation. There is the arts community that is well supported where fantastic things can and do happen, but sometimes they happen in a bubble. Then there is the world outside of that community that at times can be a tough slog, working part-time or seasonal jobs so that one still has time to make art and money to live. In this world, one's art practice is not always recognized or recognition is of a negative nature just for the sake of being contrary... The trick is finding your community of peers and sometimes your peers are spread around the world. However saying that, Winnipeg is where I choose to live and work and I would not have it any other way.


To find out more about Lincoln, visit her website at or visit her solo exhibition, The Singing Condition, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery until June 12.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 21, 2011 E2

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