Faith Holland | Portfolio Categories Performance
Website of multimedia artist Faith Holland.
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Deep Touch

This video is inspired by a photography by Matt Mahurin, which first appeared as an illustration in a 1995 Time magazine story about the dangers of cyberporn. In the photograph, a naked man is wrapped around a glowing computer in a supposedly dangerous or ill-conceived tryst. Using one of my Soft Computing sculptures, I caress and embrace a glowing computer too, but with gentleness and affection.


Hello Barbie

Hello Barbie tests the limits of Mattel’s first AI Barbie that was launched as part of a growing trend of AI toys in 2015. Barbie can converse with her owner and generate tailored statements. Because she is wifi-enabled, she can stay up-to-date with what’s going on in the world. Hello Barbie records everything she hears in order to add to her repertoire. She remembers everything you tell her and can recall this information in future conversations. Unlike friends who you have to say goodbye to at the end of the day, you can take Barbie to bed with you and talk to her until you fall asleep. The potential for constant contact and lack of regular social contexts expedites trust building. In this video, her promises are tested against her realities and I point towards the ways in which she is just like any other Barbie doll, regardless of her hardware update.

Hello Barbie is installed in front of Fembots & Cyborgs wallpaper, pointing to the doll’s predecessors and cousins.

As of summer 2019, the doll is defunct.

Installation photo by Jonas Blume.


Wire Bath

Wire Bath, a video and GIF triptych, is a fetishistic performance in which I enact my fantasy of being in a bathtub full of ethernet cords. The cords entwine my body and peek out of the water like tentacles from the ocean. As more and more of our technologies are ‘wireless’ and we continue to use the cloud as the dominant metaphor for understanding the internet, I re-connect with the physical cables used to transfer data. The tub becomes a miniature model of cyberspace and repositions the cloud underwater, where much of the physical infrastructure of the internet does in fact exist. I embed myself in this cybertub and the cables and I wash and relax together.


Best Viewed Without Underwear

Best Viewed Without Underwear asks viewers, if they desire, to remove their underwear and allow it to be part of the exhibition. “Best Viewed” is a reference to 90’s banner graphics which would declare the proper browser and screen size to optimally display a website. Whether the visitor decides to take off their underwear or not, they are forced to think about their bodily presence in the space and are therefore best equipped to view the other works on view. As installed as part of Speculative Fetish at Transfer Gallery, the piece contains further instructions to find a bathroom in the back of the space, where they would find an additional work in the show, Wire Bath.


Porn Interventions

Porn Interventions is a series of site-specific videos made for RedTube. The works invoke pornographic tropes but defy porn viewers’ expectations. The videos are uploaded to RedTube using the site’s own vernacular clickbait, with tags such as “solo girl,” “BBW,” “amateur,” etc. Instead of the free flow of sexualized bodies, porn surfers are confronted with something critical, strange, and not very sexy. The work was removed from RedTube in 2020 as part of a major purge of content.


Light Petting & Heavy Petting

Light Petting and Heavy Petting are a video couplet about our bodily relation to images we see on the screen. The videos suggest a different relationship to the virtual image, one that is both affective and physical. Heavy Petting, in particular, complicates the viewer’s relationship to pornographic images in multiple ways. There is an appropriation of heterosexual male-targeted porn for a female audience and rather than identify with the penis, the viewer relates with the woman’s actions. But this identification is incomplete and instead a triadic relationship is formed between the couple on screen and the viewer in meatspace.


Everyday Makeup

Everyday Makeup is about the ritual of ‘putting on a face’ every morning. For many women—and some men as the market tries to expand—makeup is an everyday activity, a necessity before leaving the house.


This performance dilates the experience of putting on makeup by applying a week’s worth in a single sitting on 14th Street in Manhattan. The performance takes approximately an hour, each ‘day’ being reminiscent of ‘five-minute makeup.’ Locating myself nearby various beauty salons, it almost appears as though I could be demonstrating products for sale, but quickly it becomes evident that something is awry. The piece condenses time and loops a typical morning together, in a seemingly endless cycle of putting on makeup—applied seven times, one layer on top of the other. Each ‘day’ begins afresh by covering my entire face with concealer. As the makeup gets caked on, my face slowly turns an absurd pink from the mixing cosmetics. Finally, all the makeup layers are stripped off tissue by tissue.


This performance was part of Art in Odd Places Festival: Model.


Photos and footage by Anushya Badrinath, Hilary Basing, Cylixe, Jessica Eis, Khanh Xiu Tran, and James Reddington.


Improving, Non-Stop.

Improving, Non-Stop is a science fiction short exploring contemporary magazine-culture beauty standards and the part they play in everyday life. Using myself as a subject, I did a thorough retouching of a self-portrait in Photoshop. This process is edited down to show certain salient moments in real time. The film then breaks into live action and I wear a mask of the retouched self-portrait. My face is transformed into a “perfect” version of myself, but the act of wearing a mask prevents normal activity and interaction. The result is darkly humorous and thoroughly uncomfortable.