Nancy Nowacek hates that we don’t physically struggle any more. To manually toil is becoming less and less of an option and as a result our bodies are becoming more and more irrelevant. Though some may ignore this phenomenon, other interactive artists like Nowacek can’t look away.
At the 2010 ZERO1 Biennial she presented Creatures of Habitat, an installation that literally buried an office under mounds of dirt. She revealed the Sisyphean habits of office dwellers by hiring interns to ‘work’ in this revisited space. At the 2008 biennial she worked in collaboration with Marina Zurkow and Katie Salen on Karaoke Ice—a mobile, social laboratory that traded icy treats for entertaining renditions of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On. As a studio artist and lecturer, Nowacek is on a mission to reconnect us with our bodies.
“I’m interested in resisting all the virtual stuff of life,” Nancy explains “I’m interested in making stuff physical again in kind of absurd ways to show how far we’ve gotten from knowing how to do things with our bodies.”
Her work predominantly plays around with this idea of resisting the sedentary and virtualized life, including her latest project that will be debuted at the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial. The installation, which at the moment remains title-less, will be a physical manifestation of what it’s like to be a part of the Silicon Valley movement — a movement of innovators exploring uncharted territories as fast and effectively as they can. Nowacek is taking the Biennial’s theme of “Seeking Silicon Valley” and creating an environment for the audience to experience the struggle first hand. The installment will require participants to step in and navigate uneven terrain while responding to stimulants that may or may not include sand, wind, and earth.