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Claudia Esslinger is a visual artist working in media-based installation, video projection and collaborative performance. Her installations often invite interactivity, using new media software and sculptural components. Her single and multi-channel video projections include those appropriate for gallery exhibitions, film festivals or as components for music or dance performances. A common thematic thread through her projects is a poetic exploration of inequities and inconsistencies in both the human and natural worlds. By juxtaposing challenging and ironic elements within provocative aesthetic forms, she opens her work to a wide range of interpretation.
Esslinger's work often includes visceral props that embrace a performer or receive moving projections. From rawhide and pig intestine to rust covered divining rods, from the pulsing of mechanical bellows to a notched stick measuring drops of water, her explorations are meant to elicit visceral experiences. Natural surfaces are often bracketed by clean industrial or technical elements, such as stainless-steel mesh or high-definition displays. Viewers are invited to immerse themselves, often affecting changes in various components through physical manipulations.
The projections of single-channel digital films are formatted to function as gallery installations or as film festival "shorts". Multi-channel works and video loops are more suited to gallery exhibition with multiple displays or projections, although single-channel versions of these are sometimes appropriate and available. Collaboration with composers, writers, scientists, performers, and dancers have enhanced Esslinger's semi-narrative, semi-abstract video projects. Collaborations also have led to live control of video (using interactive software) or to screenings during live performances. These presentations have taken place internationally including in Seoul and Berlin.
Esslinger has been the recipient of seven Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Awards and a New Forms Regional Grant (NEA). Artist's residencies include the Omora Ethnobotanical Preserve near Cape Horn (2009), Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California (2007), Singing Pictures workshop in Seoul, South Korea (2000) and the Grafikwerkstaadt in Dresden, Germany (1999). Esslinger is the recipient of four individual fellowships and a New Forms Regional Grant, a professional development grant from the Ohio Arts Council, among other awards. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States as well as internationally at media festivals.
Esslinger currently teaches printmaking, digital imaging, video and installation at Kenyon College in Gambier, OH.
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