Emily Michaels King
Emily Michaels King is a Minnesota based artist exploring the sensory act of engaging in both real and simulated experiences through performance, installations, and aesthetic curation.
Her work has been presented at the Walker Art Center, the Guthrie Theater, Bedlam Theater, the Southern Theater, Bryant-Lake Bowl, and the Illusion Theater, among others.
On stage she has worked with The Moving Company & Actor’s Theatre of Louisville (Love’s Labour’s Lost), Transatlantic Love Affair (Promise Land, Ballad of the Pale Fisherman (2016)), Karen Sherman (one born bad), Jon Ferguson (Super Monkey), Black Label Movement (The Woyzeck Project), The Minnesota Opera, Leigh Fondakowski, among others, and she has devised and performed in many pieces with Live Action Set including the Ivey Award winning The 7 Shot Symphony.
She directed the Minnesota Fringe favorite Hello, Stranger (2013) and co-created and performed in To the Moon (2015) and Lewis/Clark (2016). She also co-directed 7th House Theater Collective’s Jonah and the Whale with her husband Tyler Michaels, and choreographed their version of HAIR.
Emily has served as Managing Editor for the publication Once Wed and currently art directs and provides graphic design services for creative companies.
As a highly sensitive person, I approach the world and my work from my body and senses; therefore, I craft my projects so that an audience can do the same. I investigate what is real, what is the simulation of an event, and where do the real and simulated overlap. As our world participates in more and more artificial versions of real life interactions (online friendships, virtual reality, viewing live events through our devices) I wonder how these moments serve us and our relationships. I am curious about engagement in artistic experiences, which may be highly realistic in nature or not, and wonder: “Can we fully immerse ourselves in an artistic event to the point that we forget that it “isn’t real”? What do we gain from participating in experiences that are simulations of living and also moments of living themselves? (For example does one’s brain, body, memory react in the same way when milking a live cow in a barn as it does when milking a “cow” made from wire and calf feeding bottles duct taped together?)
I combine performance, aesthetics, design, and visual art to create immersive, sensory experiences that endeavor to give the viewer as real an interaction as possible. Whether it is through sculpture of human anatomy or audiences using touch to navigate a constructed space, the body is at the center of how I create my work, how the work is experienced, and the work itself. I make performances and installations that are sometimes crude and grotesque, sometimes ethereal and poetic but are unified by their movement toward a raw moment of physical or emotional surrender.
Often minimalistic in nature, my pieces employ the lush landscape of the introvert’s inner world and the power of solitude. They embrace the authentic expression of personal truth as a way in which to reach other humans. Frida Kahlo said, “I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the subject that I know best.” It is my hope to create an experiential shared space, where honesty begets honesty, and truth begets transportation.