Artist Projects

Misbehaving: Media Machines Act Out


Heidi Kumao

Misbehaving: Media Machines Act Out is a series of three female, kinetic “performers.” In each of the tableaus, a mechanized pair of aluminum girl’s legs fitted with shoes “speaks” through erratic physical gestures or video imagery, representing women and girls who disobey or resist expectations. Custom mechanics, electronic circuits, proximity sensors, and a microphone make them responsive to the presence of viewers. In Resist, a pair of girl’s legs squirms on the floor in response to viewers’ speech and in a way that is both sexualized and challenging. The legs in Protest stomp loudly and unpredictably while standing on a coffee table. Translator explores the language of non-verbal gestures between a child and two adults. Viewers move the girl between opposing half-scale armchairs each with video projector heads. Unlike a typical interpreter, this translator exposes the power relationship behind each interaction by physically embodying the conversation.

Project Updates

  • 2008: Misbehaving: Media Machines Act Out premieres at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, MI

  • 2005: Segments of Misbehaving: Media Machines Act Out are exhibited at the San Jose Museum of Art

  • 2003: Segments of Misbehaving: Media Machines Act Out are exhibited at the International Center for Photography in New York