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Shroud/Chrysalis I


Catherine Richards is a Canadian artist, who explores the spectator and information technolgy relationship as the “jam in the electro-magnetic sandwich.”1 She deals with both old and new types of technology.  Her works question the volatile senses of viewers and their boundaries, technology being the main focus.  Some of her other works include Shroud/Chrysalis II 2005, Curiosity Cabinet at the End of the Millenium 1995, I was scared to death/I could have died from joy 2000, are works that follow this particular series that is in discussion.


Her piece, Shroud/Chrysalis I, plays around the charged environment category in a very interesting way.  This piece is both installation and performance art, with assistants that perform the wrapping and unwrapping of the cloth.  The title of the term is very significant for how to interpret the piece meaning(s).  The shroud becomes the material cloth and copper taffeta that is used for burial and chrysalis becomes the outer case left after transformation.  These terms decribes the artists intent to question how spectators or performers can be “unplugged” from the charged or hyperelectrical environment of electromagnetic waves.  The spectator can see through the cloth and viewers witness the object/performer on the table and not even be “aware that there’s a person inside the fabric.”2  She chose the table because it references electrical treatments that were performed on patients and it would make them feel ungrounded. The artist further wanted to question the concepts of ‘wireless,’ ‘wearable,’immersion,’ which she deems as common technological terms.3  This piece is critical to the notion of technolohy and how technologies power can attract, seduce, make us surrender, engage, and become anxious towards.