Sarah Oppenheimer: Sensitive Machine invites visitors to collaboratively realign and reconfigure the Dietrich Exhibition Gallery at the Wellin Museum of Art. Visitors touch and turn hollow black beams, setting in motion a relay of spatial cause and effect. Walls split and slide, creating new sightlines, while lighting tracks rise and fall, shifting the radiance of the gallery. Conceptually, the works explore how our actions — both individually and communally — shape the spaces we inhabit. The exhibition invites improvisation and mobilizes group dynamics, bringing awareness to the collaborative experience of inhabited architecture.

For Oppenheimer, the space of the museum is a site of experimentation, where visitors experience the curiosity and joy of transforming the artworks themselves. In Sensitive Machine, these works — or “instruments,” as the artist refers to them — contain trajectories and linkages that can be learned through a process of collaboration with others or repeated activation. By discovering these pathways, visitors come to know the artworks through movement, touch, and sight, creating a multisensory experience. In Oppenheimer’s words, “You have to enter the temporal network in order for the work to exist.” In Sensitive Machine, the audience is given agency to decipher and explore the intertwined connections through shared and collaborative touch.

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Sarah Oppenheimer: Sensitive Machine continues at the Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College (198 College Hill Road, Clinton, NY) through December 5, 2021. The exhibition is curated by Tracy L. Adler, Johson-Pote Director, Wellin Museum of Art.