Nina Sobell pioneered the use of video, computers, and interactivity in art, as well as performance on the Web since 1969, when she first used video to document participants’ undirected interactions with her sculptures at Cornell. Exploring video-sculpture, Sobell was intrigued with creating psycho-social transformations via video technology, making environments and mobile structures to physically engage the viewer. Pursuing video’s relation to the subconscious and thinking of herself as electronic medium led Sobell to conceive of her landmark system Interactive Electroencephalographic Video Drawings, in which two participants could see their brainwaves matching in real time, as they simultaneously watched their own images on closed-circuit video, perceiving the actual point of communication between them, while viewing their internal and external portrait. It first opened to the public at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, 1975 as EEG Video Telemetry Environment. Sobell is inspired by the collaborative process that evolves from crossing the lines of music, art and technology, and opening up these channels to the public, through interactive video and web based performance and installation. Sobell produced the first live viewer-directed AIDS information telecast for cable TV.
She is the recipient of numerous awards, including grants from the NEA and NYSCA for her pioneering video installation and performance art. Sobell taught at UCLA, was a visiting Lecturer at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and was artist-in residence at the Center for Advanced Technology, Courant School of Computer Science and ITP Tisch at New York University as well as Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada. She received a BFA sculpture and printmaking from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, and an MFA in sculpture from Cornell University. Her sculptures, installations, and video art have been widely screened and exhibited internationally at such places as ZKM, MIT, Getty Museum and Research Institute, the ICA, the Whitechapel and Acme Gallery, London, the Whitney, Joseph Beuys’ FIU Documenta, Louisiana MoMA, Denmark, Kunst Forum, Austria, Hammer LA and is in numerous public and private collections.