Michaela Davies is a cross-disciplinary artist working with sound, performance, installation and video. Michaela’s creative practice is informed by an interest in the role of psychological and physical agency in creative processes and performance, and how obstruction can change the trajectory of individual development and creative outcomes both in and beyond the context of musical performance.
Her recent work has used electric muscle stimulation and other methods to bypass conditioned responses in order to both obstruct and extend human capabilities and musical possibilities in composition and improvisation. Electric muscle stimulation sends electrical impulses to the muscles, generating specific involuntarily movement of the limbs. In a musical context, Michaela uses this technology to extend sonic possibilities by enabling performers to execute complex rhythmic structures or rapid movements they would be unable to achieve of their own volition.
In a broader sense, Michaela aims to inspire reflection upon assumptions about agency and free will both in musical performance and everyday contexts. Her work is a creative enquiry into the nature of agency within systems where cognition is distributed across people, objects and environment through technologies of connection. Michaela’s work explores what happens when embodied experience and sense of agency is disrupted or extended, and the implications of this for locating a responsible agent within these systems.
Michaela holds a Doctorate in Psychology from the University of Sydney, and is an Australian Music Centre represented artist. She has been awarded a Creative Australia Fellowship for early career artists from the Australia Council for the Arts, and received the Prix Ars Electronica 2015 Honorary Mention for Digital Musics & Sound Art. She has presented work internationally and throughout Australia including Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Experimental Intermedia New York, ISEA, Mona Foma Festival Hobart, and Sonica festival UK where she was 2013 Artist in Residence. In addition to exploring sound in installation & performance, Michaela plays electric bass in numerous projects.