Sonya Rapoport (USA)

Sonya Rapoport

an electronic artist since 1976, produces cross-cultural multi-media artworks, interactive installations and since 1994, art work for web viewing.
Her computer assisted artworks reflect an ideology of transmutation: trans-cultural, trans-sexual and trans-genic. She has collaborated in art/science projects with the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory; Anthropology, and Plant and Microbiology Departments at the University of California, Berkeley; and the Instituto de Agricultura Sostenible in Cordoba, Spain.
Rapoport’s cross-cultural multi-disciplinary and interactive installations have been presented internationally at Sao Paulo, Brazil; Ars Electronica, Austria; Documenta, Kassel, Germany; the Kuopio Museum, Finland; ISEA conferences; and traveling exhibitions sponsored by the U.S. Information Service and the National Endowment for the Arts. She lectured and exhibited her work at the Second International Art Biennial-Buenos Aires, Argentina. Most recently in March, 2003 Rapoport gave a presentation of her work at the SETI (Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence) workshop in Paris.
Since 1988 Rapoport has created art projects for the Internet for which she received a California Arts Council grant for ACEN Telecommunication. Her artwork references scientific, biblical, and gender topics.
Rapoport serves on the governing board of LEONARDO/ISAST. Her art critiques appear in their MIT publications. She is a member of the Community Advisory Committee for the Berkeley Art Museum of University of California.
About the work
Digital Mudra is an adaptation of a 1987 multimedia interactive installation. The images, gestures, and textual choices that are represented in this artwork designed for the web are a reflection of the artist herself.
Digital Mudra begins with a collection of photographs from Rapoport’s interactive performance entitled Biorhythm (1983). Participants, to test their own evaluation of their biorhythm condition against a computer assessment of their emotional/physical state, They were asked to express with words and a gesture “how they were feeling that evening.” They sat in a dentist’s chair and donned bibs that provided a contrasting background for the gestures that were to be photographed. The spoken words were recordedsimultaneously with the photographing of the gesture.
In 1978, for the interactive installation, Digital Mudra, the photographs of the Biorhythm gestures were correlated with drawings of similiar gestures in the Indian Mudra vocabulary. The verbal expressions accompanying the western gestures were compared with the meanings of their corresponding Mudra gestures.
Mudra, from Sanskrit, means gesture. For 400 years Mudra movements have been used in Southern India to tell a story – a blending of Arayan and Dravidian cultures from 1,500 years earlier. The story is cued by the story teller and interpreted by the Kathakali dancer who creates a physical and emotional phenomenon. The purpose of this synthesis of language and gesture is to imagine the word’s movement as a perception of universal relationships.

Sonya Rapoport participates in

  • Le Musee di-visioniste – the global art museum
  • Self-representation – Featured artists curated by Agricola de Cologne