LIZ BAYAN is a Toledo, Ohio based multimedia artist born in Salem, Oregon. Their practice in the fields of Digital Arts and New Media focuses on mediation, technogenesis, and digital vision. In 2010 they received a B.F.A. in Digital Arts from the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. After graduating, they worked as a professional letterpress printer for Oblation Papers & Press in Portland, Oregon before moving to Buffalo, New York for graduate school where they received a M.F.A. in Emerging Practices in 2015 from SUNY, University at Buffalo. Their solo M.F.A. exhibition titled, Handle With Care, was featured at Squeaky Wheel Film + Media Arts Center and funded by the TECHNE Institute. In 2015, their video performance, And Now You Can Breathe, was included in Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center’s Amid/In WNY regional exhibition series. Their curatorial debut titled, Phantom Vibrations, at SUNY, University at Buffalo included work by Lynn Hershman Leeson, Clement Valla, Jillian Mayer, Future Death Toll, Kris Verdonck, and a lecture by Jennifer Parker-Starbuck. Liz formerly worked as a non-tenure track professor at Southeast Missouri State University and Bowling Green State University, teaching graphic design, photography, and professional practices.
For years, I have often wondered if the relationship I maintain with my computer is the most intimate relationship I will ever have. We seemingly coexist: it archives all the pictures I take; it communicates with my friends and family; it knows all my passwords without asking; it is instrumental in how I make art; and late at night before I fall asleep, it watches TV with me. In a sense, this unintentionally archived documentation of my life acts as a technology of my body. At the same time, I know that my experience with this intimate technology is not singular but heavily mediated by corporate companies. Consequently, my video and performance work falls within the realm of the mediated, focusing on intimate relationships that I cultivate with people and machines. In this regard, I see my performances as mediations, carefully crafted while intentionally leaving room for moments of spontaneity. For instance, in my piece And Now You Can Breathe (2014) I perform with another individual giving them minimal directions, only explaining that as we embrace each other I will slowly let go of my weight. These purposefully vague instructions allow my partner to decide how they will drop me at the moment when my weight is too much to bear. This form of mediation appears repeatedly in my work, as I see in technology what I see in my connections to people: a (dis)comfort and a (dis)trust with intimate relationships simultaneously resisted/desired.