Live Generative Video Installation 2012
In collaboration with Deborah Aschheim & Daragh Byrne
Amazon.com campus, 207 Boren Ave. N., Seattle, WA 2012
Introduction by Joshua Pablo Rosenstock (Chair)
The Orbitar (Kate Riegle-van West)
Sledgehammer-operated Keyboard (Taylor Hokanson)
Arduino-based Video Synth: An Open Source Interface (Sabine Gruffat)
Intimate Architectures/Social Gestures/Cinema Ontologies: Objects, Actions, Transitions, People and Environments (N_DREW aka Andrew Bucksbarg)
In the process, it foregrounds an obsessive attention to the unobserved minutiae of everyday human experience while posing questions about contemporary American values.
Does an atmosphere of hyper-vigilance and loss of privacy actually make us more secure?
This piece was presented as an interactive installation which took place as part of the Association for Computing Machines’ Creativity and Cognition 09 conference at the UC Berkeley Art Museum. The video/music compositions were presented as a very large-scale projection onto the exterior of the museum. Opposite the projections I set up a video matrix with live surveillance feeds, incorporating feeds from the internet as well as live cameras surveying the exhibition areas. An ‘observation log’ was provided, inviting viewers to participate in the surveillance and note any ‘suspicious behaviors’ they observed.
I created a Unix shell script to automatically harvest images from the internet at periodic intervals. I rendered the collected images into time-lapse videos in Quicktime, then edited together the sequences in iterations between Final Cut Pro, Ableton Live, and custom software written in Max/Jitter. I composed the soundtrack, then performed it on a variety of acoustic, digital, and analog instruments, recorded, and mixed. All aspects of this process were performed by the artist alone.
Revenge of the Lawn is a durational installation that examines our culture’s estrangement from organic processes and pokes fun at our desire to master the natural world. Revenge of the Lawn presents a typical living room scene made out of furniture that has been reupholstered with soil and seeds. It is a fantasy environment designed to encourage ‘nature’ to reclaim ‘man-made’ objects and permeate the boundary between Indoor and Outdoor, calling attention to the arbitrariness of these binaries. As the tableau of tranquil domesticity is progressively threatened by overgrowth, it calls to mind apocalyptic or science-fiction scenarios. Although the title is campy and the piece’s overall effect is humorous, there is a darker edge that hints at an out-of-balance world in which humans are no longer present.
Revenge of the Lawn was originally created in 2003 but was completely redesigned for the 2008 version. The installation was presented on a public pathway in the heart of Lincoln Park, adjacent to the museum entrance, in a room-like stone courtyard surrounded by native prairie flora and fauna. The sculpture featured hand-sewn panels containing soil and seeds that were upholstered to the surfaces of the furniture. Several other items such as slippers, dishes, and a spoon were seeded as well and contributed to the domesticity and humor of the site. A drip/spray irrigation system was integrated into the installation site. A networked video camera, built into a custom weather- and theft-proof enclosure, took pictures of the growth every 15 minutes and uploaded the images to a remote server, where they were combined into time-lapse video. The resulting videos and live camera feed were viewable on my site revengeofthelawn.com. The whole system – watering, image capture, and video rendering – functioned autonomously with minimal human intervention.
I returned to plant sculpture, found materials, and environmental installation in a low-tech context as a participant in the 2007 Bumpkin Island Art Encampment. This unusual event, organized by the Berwick Research Institute, Island Alliance, and Studio Soto, took place over labor day weekend on a small island in the Boston Harbor.
Using the metaphor of homesteading as a point of departure, 40 artists in ten groups will embark on new artistic and geographic terrain. With only the materials they can carry on their backs and a short 5-day window of time, the artists will adapt ambitious projects to the challenges and opportunities of an island environment.
Part residency, part survivalist experiment, and fully impressionable, malleable, speculative and reflective, the Encampment allows artists to explore new possibilities, removed from the distractions and discourses of the mainland. Yet, like an explorer with a partially drawn map to be fully formed in expedition, the project presents itself as a microcosm of transparent, possible attributes and actions for a culture stripped bare and invented anew.
Our team built sculptures comprised entirely of materials we scavenged from around the island. Our creations – a giant twig chicken, a goat with internal organs made of garbage, and a rusty metal pig – embodied a Darwinesque fantasy of exotic, mutated, feral creatures on a remote island. The results of the project were documented in the Land Grab exhibition at APEXART in New York City, and featured online at the German art site wooloo.org.
In 2004 I became part of the art collective Tactonic, joining Huong Ngo and Matthew Steinke. The group’s work combined recycled materials, the love of low-technology, and an interest in social interactions. Our collaboration culminated in the PORTOTONIC exhibition, a collection of portable artworks highlighting themes of travel, displacement, and nomadism.
My own piece took the work I had been doing with looped video micro-narratives, and adapted that idea to a distinctly low-tech approach. I built a Zoetrope, an early animation device, which was housed in a vintage child’s suitcase, and created a series of looping animated sequences to be played back using it. Each animation strip focused on displaced people in the midst of difficult transition – deported Jews in the Holocaust, arrested Mexican border crossers, Haitian boat people. The ‘peepshow curiosity’ aspect of the Zoetrope contrasted with the seriousness of the subject matter, calling attention to the relationship between the detached voyeurism of the viewers and the plight of the subjects depicted.
This piece manifests the attraction/ repulsion relationship I have with TV. It provides a hyper-stimulating barrage of fast-paced images and sounds, yet frustrates attempts to actually ‘watch’ it in a conventional sense.
Created as the culmination of my MFA in Art & Technology, this electronic installation is run by a MAX/MSP/Jitter patch that both outputs video samples and talks to a PIC microcontroller. The PIC is programmed in C with my rhythmic pattern algorithms and controls custom video switching electronics.
Joyful Noise Tank was created for the show Anti-Spacesuit – The Dirty Future at Gallery 2 in Chicago.