Heidi Tikka combines the use of new technology with real objects in order to represent the intimacy of close contact. She involves visitors in environments in which their movement and voices can generate immediate responses and mimic real life interaction between adults and infants.
Heidi Tikka is a media artist and a researcher at the UIAH Media Lab Helsinki, where she has also been teaching media art and media culture since 1997. Her projects often involve collaborations, most frequently with her son. Recent work has involved the participation of parents submitting live images of their new-born children via camera-phones. She has just been awarded the first annual AVEK prize for audiovisual art.
Heidi Tikka sees her work as being the result of a diverse and varied range of practices. As a media artist, her work is a process of negotiation between the roles of being, among other things, a mother, theorist, technician, fundraiser and manager.
The installation Mother, Child exemplifies the heterogeneous space that her thoughts occupy. “Mother, Child is about my everyday practice of being a mother and wanting to bring that practice into the realm of cultural production”.
Her work also emerges from the theoretical basis of her academic research on spectatorship, interactivity and the user experience. “In my installations I produce representational structures that undermine the distance between the spectator and the image. I am interested in developing visual technologies in which the body cannot be separated from the act of looking”.
In the work on display at Fabrica, Heidi Tikka further explored the nature of interactivity and her relationship with her son, by creating his double, which itself developed a memory and consciousness that diverges from its source. “As the mother of a five year old child and guardian of his sleep, I am constantly reminded of the shifting boundaries of that agency which is, and is not, my dreaming child. To whom does his sleep and his dreams belong? As an infant learning to speak, his nightly dreams weave him more and more tightly into the semiotic fabric of my culture. And as the child of the real-time media generation, the boundaries of his culture are on the move.”
A pattern of practice that demands wearing many hats is common to contemporary artists engaging with a portfolio of diverse social and professional opportunities. Characteristic of Heidi Tikka’s professional practice is its cross-disciplinary nature, involving her as a doctorate candidate, as a frequent collaborator, most notably with her son, and as a media producer. In consequence, the tension and uneasiness that may arise concerning her identity as an artist and how her work is theoretically located is something she both embraces and continually contests. It is in this border realm between disciplines that Heidi Tikka chooses to place herself, devising new strategies for both artistic, social and academic discourse.