Irina Nakhova : Friends and Neighbors
Engineer : Per Biorn
Installation view of Irina Nakhova's Friends and Neighbors.
Irina Nakhova, a Russian artist who works in New York, wanted sculptures that reacted to the presence of viewers. Billy Klüver put her in touch with Per Biorn, who designed and built circuits in which sound was triggered by touch. They were built into the sculptures, in which Nakhova dressed clothes dummies with old thrift store overcoats on which she had painted images of classical sculptures. When viewers approached and touched the coats, the sculptures sounded off with pre-recorded loud cries or insulting or angry comments. Friends and Neighbors was shown first at Hartford College for Women, then in Denmark in 1994, and later at the Cranbrook Museum of Art in Michigan.
Nakhova has since collaborated with other engineers on sculptures that inflate and change shape when viewers come close to them.