I wake up to an artificial sunrise. My watch tells me that I didn’t get enough REM sleep. My coffee brews itself. I prepare my child to live in a world that doesn’t exist yet. My phone reminds me I have friends and to schedule a dentist appointment. There is a machine, an app, an algorithm for every job including human connectedness. Power-on, login, turn-up, tune-out. Seeing through technology acknowledges the false familiarities of participating in a media filtered lived experience. The distorted intimacy and comfortable distance provided by consensual digital voyeurism. I choose this life. I choose it over and over. Not because it is addiction that cannot be broken. But, because, however many mindless dangers and distractions, the human spirit still prevails. I keep pace: bending, changing, remaining ultimately a relational being. Seeing Through Technology is an installation that provides the stark visual backdrop of the rapidly changing technological world and in turn offers a space to tap into your innate ability to experience empathy. To play. To find humour in the mundane. To experience human connectedness through binary and in the flesh.
My practice is a way to act in today’s overwhelming flow of information. The walls of my studio echo with noise as machines and assemblages bump and jostle, acting out chaotic plays, attempting to make sense of this world. Global politics, its conflicts and social imbalances enter my space through electronic screens and radio waves and find form in ad hoc assemblages, dissected icons and humorous contradictions. As an artist, I take on the role of cultural observer, re-spinning narratives that challenge my place, my sense of belonging, bringing the viewer along with me in this endless quest for answers, logic and relationship.
I grew up in Port Alberni and recently returned after almost a decade away, to set up a home and studio here. I am an interdisciplinary artist who crafts experiences and relationships by way of making and organizing objects. I use my art practice to elicit emotions and visceral responses in the viewer to pose questions that are culturally and socially pertinent to the community and place that I am exhibiting in. When I construct an experience, I am particular about the media I choose to work with. Every material has a memory, has a history an association for the viewer. Often this means learning to work with a material, method or technology that I might only use once. For one specific piece. For a particular experience. For a single connection between the viewer and the work. While the materials and process are ever-changing, there is one constant in my art and in my life, and that is humour and empathy. They are the humanizers, the life breathers of all things heavy or mundane. It’s what motivate me when the making gets hard.
– Heather Koning
I would like to acknowledge the Kwakwa̲ka̲’wakw people on whose traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory my work has been made and displayed in.