Emma Wade is a visual artist based in Dublin, Ireland. She works with installation and digital media. Her work is often playful, interactive and audience focused. Emma received a MA from the Fine Art Department of the National College of Art and Design Dublin in 2008. In summer 2008, she completed an internship in New Media Education at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Her practice is currently based at RedSpace Studios in Dublin. Play and humour are used as tools to provoke thought and entertain, in Emma’s practice. The user often intentionally or unintentionally becomes a performer. Without their input the work is incomplete. Science and Pseudo-science heavily infuence her practice. The confict between scientific fact and common belief fascinates her. Defning proof, the notion of what is real and who decides. Her current research investigates the physiological effects of deep pressure and cellular memory in a fine art context.
With a sudden surge in spontaneous expressions affection between strangers such as; the Free Hugs movement and Amma the Hugging Saint, the artist began to wonder, what is the origin of this need for contact? Is it due to an increase in communication online and increasingly segmented communities, are people less used to communicating face-to-face? The artist is equally intrigued with science and pseudo-science, the work of noted autistic author and scientist Dr. Temple Grandin, and her creation; an apparatus called the squeeze machine. The machine applies a pressure over a large part of the body and has a positive effect. This same logic is re-appropriated in this project to attempt to simulate the positive effects of a hug with the use of a wearable device within the gallery space. The project comments on the need for human contact, dislocation of communities, and our intertwining relationships with machines.