Since 1969, when she first used video to document participants' undirected interactions with her sculptures, Sobell has been interested in the extent to which video enables her to manipulate the relation between time and space, and to create a vortex for human experience, in which the mediated event coincides with public experience, memory, and relationships. Her Master's Thesis at Cornell University, in 1971, was the first in the country to integrate video as art.
In 1975 she installed the "Interactive Encephalographic Brainwave Drawing Installation" at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. Pairs of participants sat together on a couch with electrodes attached to their scalps. Their brain wave output was combined, sent through a computer, and displayed on the television set before them, superimposed on their real-time, closed circuit video portrait. She has continued to develop the piece over the years, and is currently working on a piece in which participants will collaborate on Brainwave Drawings internationally, over the Web.
Sobell presented "Brainwave Drawings" and "Videophone Voyeur" (1977) at Joseph Beuys' "Free International University" at Documenta 6. She received awards from the NEA and NYSCA for her pioneering video performance art in the 1970's. Her work has been shown throughout the US, Europe, and Japan. An award-winning printmaker and figurative sculptor, and avid improvisational guitarist and keyboardist, she can be seen sculpting Emily in the ParkBench Performance Archives and heard playing music there as well. (See the top two rows in the archives for performances with music.)
Interactive Sculpture | Brainwave Drawings | Videophone Voyeur | Six Moving Cameras, Six Surveillance Views | Figurative Sculpture