Come see me at EAST this weekend and next (Nov 10 & 11 and Nov 17 and 18) at the Phonix Trades Depot! I’m #154i in the EAST catalog.
exploring technology in the arts and active viewer engagement
Art pushes boundaries, and trespasses frontiers as new technologies open up. We are surrounded by mass-produced artifacts of modernity; I want to bring the artistry of our past to electronics, and want to expose mechanical operations for the beauty inherent in their functionality. The pieces reminisce of a time when our technology was handmade, but also speak to the resurgence of such, as we regain control of our tech as seen in the DIY and MAKER movements.
There is a simple pleasure in watching things move, a satisfaction in creating that movement, and a deep-wired appreciation for discerning cause & effect. The way in which viewers experience a piece of art has always fascinated me. For the most part, experiencing art is an internal process; I’m interested in how engagement changes once it is brought into the physical realm. How does agency affect the relationship of view and art? I also wanted to bring an element of play into the pieces.
The content of the pieces draws on a personal artistic theme of contained realities, tiny worlds, fantastical habitations. The houses themselves are in a style similar to Victorian Era “Painted Lady” houses, and when colored, I tried to invoke subtle levity. And the overall conception for this line of experimentation grew out of finding the coolest way possible to merge all of the above inclinations.
Design & Prototyping
This stage is by far the most time-consuming. After getting the idea for a piece, it needs to be designed as flat pieces that will fit together three-dimensionally. Each finished design has gone through several rounds of prototypes and revisions.
Once a design is ready to ‘print’, time on a lasercutter is scheduled. These have all been cut on the ATX Hackerspace’s Universal Systems 60 watt laser. Some design artifacts are due to the limitations of the lasercutter – for example, this laser cannot cut wood thicker than ¼ inch, therefore the doubling-up of the gears. Each design takes about 2-3 hours to cut.
Electronic projects are increasingly becoming part of the art and craft realm. This circuit is extremely simple – batteries, LED lights, and a resistor to ensure the LEDs get the proper voltage. If you’re interested in incorporating electronic components into your art or craft projects, go for it! Join a Hackerspace, Makerspace, and self-educate through instructables.com, Make magazine or any of the numerous Maker resources out there.
Assembly & Painting
This is the second-longest process. If color is used, that involves extra planning. All pieces have some sort of protective finish: acrylic for painted pieces and tung oil for natural pieces. Since the mechanics are all wood, a lot of time and care goes into ensuring they turn smoothly: sanding, finishing, waxing, etc. A piece may take up to 10 hours for assembly alone.
Each piece is unique. I have an interchangeable set of tiny houses, so each piece may have something different! Due to the natural variance of wood, each piece will turn a little differently as well.