Jennifer Steinkamp. The Body Is a Canvas

Clip from Jennifer Steinkamp, Winter Fountains, 2017. Video, 4:32 minutes. Video by Greenhouse Media, Philadephia.

In Jennifer Steinkamp’s media installations, the spectator often becomes an element within the work. For Winter Fountains (2017), an outdoor installation along Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Steinkamp was inspired by the street’s twentieth-century fountains to develop a kind of media “fountain”—a spectacle of light and moving images projected onto four large fiberglass domes around which passersby gather. As people approach, their “skin becomes a canvas”1 for her otherworldly digital animations. Their bodies are transfigured in space among colliding ice particles, floating floral forms, and bolts of lightning, which allude to the legacy of Benjamin Franklin.

  1. Peter Lunenfeld, Snap to Grid: A User’s Guide to Digital Arts, Media, and Cultures (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2000), 147. ↩︎