Carolyn P. Speranza is an artist living and working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she is the Webmaster and Creative Director for Pittsburgh.Net. Speranza~s work focuses on community based public artworks using the computer as a collaborative tool, site specific installation and multi-media.

Speranza is currently working on "End of the Line: Building Bridges with Pittsburgh's Busways," a community based collaborative project with artist Lisa Link and the Pittsburgh Public Libraries. The theme of "End of the Line" is crossing boundaries between Pittsburgh neighborhoods, both in the images and, literally, on the buses."End of the Line" will be shown as a series of large, color computer photomontages which will circulate the city as billboard displays on PAT city buses. The designs will address historic and contemporary concerns in Pittsburgh's neighborhoods. The third in a series of public works by Speranza and Link, "End of the Line" will be on the road in the Spring of '97.

Some of Speranza's awards and commissions include a recent New Forms Regional Grant(1996) which is sponsored by the NEA, Rockefeller Foundation, Warhol Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; a Faculty Research and Creative Endeavors Grant from Central Michigan University(1995); a funded residency at Sculpture Space, New York(1995); a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant for a featured installation in ~The Pittsburgh Biennial~(1994) and a commission to collaborate with inner city students for a ~Literacy~ mural(1992). This project was reviewed by the New Art Examiner and Speranza coauthored "A Public Computer Image in Pittsburgh: Literacy Windows" with fellow artist Lisa Link for ART COM electronic magazine. Additionally, Speranza has received scholarships for work in light-sculpture at Pilchuck Glass School(1991 & 3).

   Artist's Statement:

My artwork focuses on site-specific light installation, computer art and community based public artworks. Inventive processes, both artistic and technological, are at the heart of these activities. Since 1988 I have been making site-specific installations incorporating illuminated imagery with three-dimensional elements. The computer is my primary tool for appropriating, creating and manipulating images. With* these images, I have examined our age old quest to understand light through scientific discovery, invention and spiritual relationship with the sun. I have explored light's seasonal changes and humanity's attempts to harness, imitate and understand these phenomena. In combination with digital imagery, I use layers of transparent materials: glass, gels, and plastics with a variety of light sources: neon tubing, fluorescents, tiny incandescent bulbs and slide projectors. The resulting work alludes to science museum displays in its format and informational presentation.

My current work-in-progress, Hole in My Head, Hole in My Heart, explores mind/body disorientation featuring two icons: the human heart and head. The heart is exhibited anatomically in image and in three dimensions. Representation of the human head includes the brain and more prominently, a series of self-portrait photographs displaying Alopecia Areata.** The "Holes," throughout the artwork are both factual and used in metaphor. First, they are the marked physiological changes symptomizing Alopecia. Second, these round, smooth patches are the messengers of a greater, stress-related disorder, the "hole in the heart." They express the body's distress and intelligence in its warning. "Hole in My Heart" references emotional stress, related heart disease and the artist's familial history of open-heart surgery, clogged arteries, and death by heart attack. Third, these holes are explored as visual metaphor: in flat, round luminous neon shapes; in cores cast in rubber and plastic, giving the holes volume and depth; and in spinning disks.

For the inaugural Pittsburgh Biennial, I created Fluidity Electrique-- a site-specific work combining digital images and twelve light boxes in a fifty foot long series of six diptyches. Fluidity Electrique investigates the shared qualities of lissome, energizing motion in air and water-- swimming, flying and the passage of light. Fluid motion expresses the meditative, mind-like-water state, which often precedes creative activity. In this series, the "floating body" expresses this metaphor. The sense of immersion which comes with swimming, incubation in water, is akin to lying in a think tank. Passing through water, light brings illumination, a breakthrough realization. Moving in this dreamlike state is not unlike wavering on the edge of sleep where ideas are free to recombine promiscuously. "Write of swimming under water and you will have the flight of the bird through the air . . ." wrote Leonardo in Codex Atlanticus. For DaVinci, swimming was the original flight simulator. This idea inspires fellow computer artist, Fred Truck, who uses VR to simulate flying dreams and drew the aerobatic plane maneuvers in Fluidity Electrique. Having the opportunity to navigate the cyberspace of Truck~s VR, the sense of floating and disembodiment strongly reminded me of swimming, Ti-Chi and the Zen no-mind, flow state of creativity.

My community based public artworks include ~Art in the Heart of the City,~ a mural produced with urban middle school and rural college students for a Pittsburgh recreation center; "My Bread Tastes Sweeter", a billboard collaboration for the Adopting Aliquippa urban renewal project; and "Literacy Windows," for which I am one of two artists commissioned by the Times Project. We designed "Literacy Windows" with inner city high school students using photo-imaging software and specialized printing on a continuous sheet of vinyl over 25 feet long. The mural was displayed on the Heinz Plant in Pittsburgh's Northside for two years. It is now travelling to other culturally diverse neighborhoods.