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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Speaking to a Five-foot Opossum

Emily Bivens, Associate Professor of ArtCollege of Arts and Sciences

​I assume everyone has moments they were not prepared for and then are not satisfied with what they said or did. These moments of regret can replay in one’s mind creating nagging feelings of unresolvedness or an open loop. I have come up a solution to resolve this difficult situation. In a recent project I created a proxy for that moment by offering people a chance to speak privately with a five-foot opossum in a state of apparent death. Audience members were able to close their loops by redoing unsatisfactory conversations or interactions. After five-minutes the audio of the interaction with the seemingly unaware animal is played back into the gallery giving the speaker the chance to be both the deliverer and receiver of a message. In this talk I will discuss interactive art practices, the use of proxies and the value of opossums.

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