Seed Grant Report: Jill Miller and My Mother's Titanium Hip

18 Apr, 2022

Seed Grant Report: Jill Miller and My Mother's Titanium Hip

This year the Berkeley Center for New Media offered two faculty research grants to seed ambitious academic scholarships in new media at Cal. Jill Miller was selected for “My Mother's Titanium Hip.Read more about the project report by Jill Miller below!

The faculty seed grant generously assisted in my solo exhibition at the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art in Gimpo, South Korea, in June 2021. I exhibited my video, My Mother’s Titanium Hip, at the venue and also gave an artist talk at the affiliated conference. The production of that video marked my initial experiment in scanning an object in the physical world and then inserting it into a digital work of art. At that time, I began experimenting with a variety of techniques for translating a physical object into the digital realm, and I continue to explore the “lost translations” between the virtual and the “real” in art installations. My experiments include: reconstructing urban legends in augmented reality art, “breeding” extinct animal and plant species to form monstrous creatures, and digitally building models of extinct local plant species and inserting them into video and augmented reality landscapes.

As proposed in the grant application, I used funds to hire a student worker to help with the design and production of six sculpture prototypes. Built at the scale of a newborn baby (approximately 5 - 7 pounds), these hybrid creatures are a blend of extinct plants and animals, forming a new and impossible creature. We purchased and experimented with a variety of materials (clay, epoxy, acrylic, 3D filament), and consulted with design specialists at Jacobs Hall. We ultimately produced a design for a soft sculpture with electronics embedded. This design will be used to move into the next phase of object creation during the summer of 2022.

The seed grant has been an incredible resource. My research has moved into an experimental space that combines augmented and physical sculptures in order to create a multi-layered art installation. The hybrid sculptures produced from the seed award will be exhibited at the University of Alberta - Edmonton art gallery in January 2023.