Ume Hussain is an interdisciplinary artist based in Washington, D.C. She received her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and is currently an MFA candidate at Maryland Institute College of Art. Through her interest in subtlety and quietness, she explores themes of stillness, security, contingency and the illusion of control. Her work incorporates video, sound, light and interactive media to engage and at times implicate her audience.
Subtle, incremental change is movement. It is life. Almost imperceptible, it is a universal phenomenon we are accustomed to tuning out. Being attuned to it requires one to pause, notice and reflect. Often, it takes a disruption, glitch or malfunction to draw our attention to it. This movement can be best described as the constant adjustment to commonplace sensory experiences—sights, sounds, smells. In a larger context, it is the constant reframing and negotiation that allows us to create an identity and relationship with the world around us.
My work explores the significance of the sensorium and the labor involved in how we choose to integrate it into our lives. By combining video, sound, installation and interactive media, I create situations that challenge perceptual thresholds within the everyday. Although stillness is often perceived as a peripheral component of existence, I am investigating its presence within the pockets of the mundane. At what point does the sensorium shift from a comforting, predictable presence to challenging our ideas of security? Can it be used as a gateway to finding stillness in the everyday?