Dana Karwas: In a Heartbeat

March 26—June 27, 2021


Dana Karwas

Dana Karwas, process image for In a Heartbeat

In a Heartbeat examines moments, often unconscious gestures, that nevertheless might be pivotal moments in someone’s life, through three sculptural works: Counter-Curve, Orbital Axis, and Arc of Near. The exhibition takes its inspiration from The Princess Steel, a piece of speculative fiction by the writer and sociologist W.E.B Du Bois, who proposed a way to inspect the arc of civilization created using 200 years of data made up of “everyday facts of life.” Initially foiled by all of the “curves” and “curious counter-curves” of human deeds the protagonist, Professor Johnson, reveals that he has created an invention capable of integrating small moments into what he calls “the Great Near,” an accumulation of all the normally invisible experiences of a person’s life. Any mundane moment can be imbued with dread; what heart-stopping catastrophe might await? Alternately, without context, any single moment or simple gesture is slight and can be perceived to mean very little—an adult reaching into a purse to find their keys or a child stretching for cookies above a stove. Our assumptions while observing such moments can be maddening as our minds plot out “curious counter-curves” that can be as fantastical as one of Du Bois’s stories, an immeasurable inflection point where a whole life can be glimpsed. Karwas’ pedagogy and personal research involves investigating these modes of perception.
Dana Karwas is an artist whose sculptures and digital works investigate new, human reference frames for dimensional information. Dana is director of the Center for Collaborative Arts and Media (CCAM) at Yale and is a critic at the Yale School of Architecture teaching courses related to mechanized perception, space architecture, and inverting our relationship to technology. She holds an MPS from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and has a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kansas.