Kayla Anderson is an interdisciplinary moving-image maker and independent media theorist based in Chicago, IL. She received her BFA with dual emphasis in Film, Video, and New Media and Fiber & Material Studies from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013 and her BA in Visual and Critical Studies from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014 with a dissertation on the intersections of object-oriented ontology and media art. She is currently an artist in residence at the Chicago Artists Coalition, and an upcoming artist in residence at Elsewhere: a Living Museum, Greensboro, NC.
Her work has been exhibited in venues throughout the United States and abroad including Currents International New Media Festival, Santa Fe; West Virginia Mountaineer Short Film Festival; Regis Center for Art at the University of Minnesota; Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography; Grey Projects, Tiong Bahru, Singapore; Nối Projects, Hanoi, Vietnam; Johalla Projects, Tritriangle, Woman Made Gallery, The Nightingale Cinema, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL. Her writing has been published by Leonardo Journal & MIT Press and presented at SIGGRAPH 2014.
In addition to her art practice, she has curated several exhibitions focusing on film, video, and new media art, including Freeze Frame: Artists Books and the Moving Image at the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection, and [History] Under Construction at Gallery X, Chicago, IL. She currently holds the position of Manager of Library Special Collections at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she curates exhibitions, lectures, and mentors students in the history, theory, and creation of artists’ publications. In her spare time, she organizes a monthly critique group for female media makers called Media Grrrl Chicago.
Using a playful approach to methods of “excavation”, my work engages with cultural artifacts of the past in order to propose parallel worlds. I create spaces to inhabit where images from the past and present collide to form an alternate, often mythic reality. Through intricate installations involving video, sculpture, and found objects I challenge perceived boundaries between subject, object, and image. The work takes particular objects, taxonomies, and texts as points of departure and is often driven by an intuitive investigation into what actions or processes the source material requires. Positioning myself as a thing-among-things; I consider the objects and images I take inspiration from as collaborators; the work as a performance of our shared history. By exposing my own interactions with objects, the work sanctions a space for others to examine their experiences and associations with the inanimate.
Often I inhabit my work in the same capacity as my source material: as a reproduction. Using my image as a discreet element within the work, I gain the ability to both act on and be acted upon by other images. Thus, leveling the field between my body and the cultural artifacts I explore. I view this leveling of the borders between subject and object not as resignation to objectification, but as an alternative to the system that renders some subjects and others objects of society. Of equal importance within the work is a sense of mediation and play; it is often through the kitsch and uncanny that transcendence occurs. Through deliberate staging, I invite the viewer to question common assumptions about fact and fiction, musing and reality. Through making I propose a shift in our perception of objects as purely inanimate towards an acceptance of an object’s ability to transform and transport us and to interact in ways previously overlooked.