Over the past six years, Jennifer Gradecki’s work has pulled from the histories, methodologies and values of both social science and art, often mining the darker sides of human behavior. Utilizing techniques traditionally employed by social scientists, she provides a framework that enables people to reflect on their perceptions, while questioning the belief that science and art should be exclusionary to one another. Through staged clinical lab settings, scripted performances, sculptural installations, data visualization, and both hidden and explicit data collection techniques, she investigates and displays the viewer’s behavior as well as systems of power relations.
IRB# G10-02-066-01 is a participatory installation that questions the boundaries of ethics in psychological research, explores the possibility of exchange between the fields of art and psychology, and examines the social relations that a shock machine may represent or produce in a gallery setting. The piece consists of an Institutional Review Board (IRB) application for a study entitled Social Interaction as a Function of Voluntary Engagement with a Shock Machine, letters of correspondence with the IRB, two chairs flanking a small table that holds a shock machine, and a sign that explains the guidelines for participation. The letters of correspondence on display contain Gradecki’s efforts to convince the IRB that she is producing meaningful information and preserving participant autonomy. Viewers are invited to use the shock machine, which has two electrode leads and two hand-held push buttons to allow for two people to shock each other simultaneously.
About the Artist
Jennifer Gradecki was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1980. As an undergraduate, she attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, earning a double major in Sculpture and Experimental Social Psychology and a minor in Art History. She earned her MFA in New Genres from UCLA in 2010.
Gradecki is an emerging national artist. Her work has been exhibited in galleries, museums, and alternative spaces from Los Angeles to New York, including Crisp London Los Angeles, Cal State Long Beach, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Gradecki has presented her psychological research at the Midwestern Psychological Association’s annual conference. In 2008, she co-curated the Wight Biennial. Gradecki can also be found performing experiments, usually uninvited, at galleries, museums, and other public places. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
Image courtesy the artist.