Elaine Tin Nyo

Born: Rangoon, Burma
Lives: New York, New York

What drives me is an interest in the Hedonist structures that bind humans to each other. The works begin with an invitation to share a simple pleasure: a slice of pie, a dance, a bath. The invitation is at once an act of generosity and a challenge. This collaboration enriches and completes the art work. The products of the sharing manifest as installations, actions, parties, food, recipes, photographs, videos, writing, and printed and electronic matter.
What is the difference between life and art? When does the art happen? If I ask you to take a walk with me, you say 'yes' or 'no.' If we take a walk together, perhaps nothing happens during that walk, but it is an experience we make together. I tell people about our walk in words and pictures (or I ask you to tell people about it). Those people, in turn, imagine our walk. Can an action be art if no one is watching? What interests me are “off-stage performances” and actions that occur for a very limited audience (one to a dozen people). Each work is built on concentric circles of participation and audience. Like a pebble, I hit the water. The first splash is my initial audience member—my collaborator—the person who shapes and witnesses the original action. We share the experience privately. The experience ripples out from us to the next circle of audience. It is interpreted again and ripples to the next circle and so on. That is how intimate experience becomes cultural experience—the kernel is sharing.
In addition to the work I do under my own name, I am part of a group of artists who produces projects under the name dBfoundation (dbfoundation.org). The dBfoundation is dedicated to creating and fostering ephemeral edifices and intangible structures. We have created many collaborative projects that enlist the imaginations, ambitions and energies of both artists and the public.

Part of my process is building an audience that is invested in the experience.


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