Emma Waltraud Howes


Concerned with malleable boundaries, Emma Waltraud Howes incorporates movement, collage, sculpture, drawing, sound and video into her live performance and interdisciplinary installations. Her working process is influenced by a reverence for the ‘Theatre of the Absurd’, informed by a background in Dance, Performance Theory, and formal training in the Visual Arts. Her projects manifest as choreographed multiple reconfigurations of the body guided by her observations on contemporary gestures and the history of their production. The corporeal body in her work, similar to her material objects, can be seen as ‘characters’, emphatic subjects that serve to enunciate the purpose of dysfunctions. She frames these elements towards a reconciliation of mind-body dualisms, an optimistic proposition for incremental change.

You Live and Do Me No Harm

in cooperation with Kai Meyer, video installation, 2011 (currently exhibited in the museum)

The artist’s work observes the role of costume-wearing in the promotion of animal-human bonding. Influenced by the newborn raising techniques of the birds, the video provides a glimpse into one-persons active engagement with two crane heads. Playing with the physical characteristics that define our differences and similarities, the process aims to address the role that mimesis and proprioception play in the production of empathy.

Crane Rearing Costume

costume, 2011 (currently exhibited in the museum)

Cranes quickly adapt to human contact. In order to successfully raise cranes in captivity humans dress in similar costumes so that the chicks will imprint on the costume and except the character as a parent. This technique is necessary to insure the proper upraising of young cranes in preparation for their release into the wild. The artist therefore created a costume that covers the human form, with additional hood and mask to disguise the face. This form of camouflage is equipped with wooden or paper maché crane heads employed to feed the young birds, and to encourage them to fly, mate, and migrate.