Kumao, Heidi

Permanent URI for this collection

Digital access to this material is pending artist's approval. Materials may be viewed onsite at the Goldsen Archive, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Kroch Library, Cornell University.

I use art as a tool to explore personal responses to power structures in the nuclear family, mainstream media, the workplace, and traditional gender roles. I examine the psychological underpinnings of these seemingly ordinary situations and institutional contexts. Formally, I use machines, animated objects, and projected imagery because they offer me a visually compelling way to investigate what is unseen: defense mechanisms, sex drives, thinking patterns, self-control, dreams, and impulses. Each piece harnesses a variety of technologies in order to startle the viewer with unpredictable behaviors or an unsettling display of images. By challenging the viewers' expectations of an object, I heighten their awareness of ordinary social interactions to reveal the underlying emotional and poetic capacities. At its core, my work is driven by the desire to create a psychological experience for viewers that causes them to rethink commonplace events such as childhood play, family dynamics, television news, and even the wearing of clothes.