The body is the subject and medium of my work. I focus on creating installations and videos around trauma’s effect on our daily lives.
My work begins in a bare room with dramatic lighting and a video camera. I nervously step in front of the camera and move. I stretch and wiggle until my limbs, and the movements feel alien or poke and squeeze my sides and stomach until my knuckles are white and my skin is red. This time in front of the camera is similar to sketching, guided by an idea but loose in execution. “Sketches” are moved into the editing phase, where the screen transforms the body into an object that can be controlled and disfigured.
Through performance for the camera, I explore the physical body, while the editing phase lets me process the perverted perception I have of my physical and mental self. Drawing from Paul Valéry’s exploration of the three-body problem (the idea that we exist in three different bodies; physical, mental (perceived by the self), and social (perceived by others)) I lean into layering, looping, and repeating distorted body parts. I have intimacy issues relies on sound to comment on how female bodies, especially confident ones, are alien. These bodies and bodily functions need to be examined and controlled.
My body is always with me, and I see it from the same perspective. Moving the body through the lens, onto the screen, and intentionally objectifying it helps magnify the trauma it carries and allows the layers of self to be pulled apart and put back together again.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Amy Cannestra is a Wisconsin-based contemporary artist that uses performance, digital media, sculpture, and drawing to explore the weight physical and mental trauma puts on the body and soul on a day-to-day basis.
Cannestra received her BFA in Communication Design from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in 2006 and her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015. Since receiving her MFA she has been performing and exhibiting internationally, participating in events such as the 2016 TransArt Triennial in Germany, ChaShaMa pop-up at the One World Trade Center in New York City, the 2017 TRIO: Biennial in Rio de Janeiro, and, most notably, the 58th Venice Biennial in the Grenada Pavilion.
Alongside a thriving studio practice, Cannestra is one-third of SPOOKY BOOBS, a feminist collaboration that uses art, language, and design to visualize the trivialization of women’s experiences. Formed in 2014 with J. Myszka Lewis, SPOOKY BOOBS produces public performances and installations with the mission to halt the perpetuation of sexism in our culture.”
© Amy Cannestra