Bernie B. Lubell
Fellow: Awarded 2011
Field of Study: Fine Arts
Competition: US & Canada
Bernie Lubell's interactive installations have evolved from his studies in both psychology and engineering. As participants play with his whimsical wood machines, they become actors in a theater of their own imagining.
Lubell's work includes a stone-age digital computer; a rainstorm of chaos and nostalgia; a phone booth-confessional network; a mechanism to measure Intimacy; room-sized simulations of the human heart, brain, and breathing; a giant cooperative knitting machine; and a mechanism to collaborate on getting nothing to happen.
Much of his inspiration has come from mining the past for the ways we understand ourselves in the machines we make. Of particular interest has been the early work of Etienne Jules Marey, a nineteenth-century physiologist and father of motion pictures. This work has led Lubell to make artworks that mirror scientific experimentation.
Lubell’s art installations combine theatre, science, history, interaction, humor, and cooperative gaming using a low-tech, predominately wood aesthetic. The wood adds a friendly, nostalgic quality to his commentary on contemporary issues. The pieces coax the audience to engage their bodies as well as their minds and eyes. As they play, participants tap the reservoir of knowledge stored in each of their bodies—feeling the way the pieces move they unconsciously apply the kinesthetic comprehensions of childhood to the tasks of philosophy.
He hopes to reawaken a childlike sense of wonder and reintegrate participants' bodies in the life of their minds.
He lives and works in San Francisco, California.
Profile photograph by Washington Buckley.