I’ve been accepted into a really cool group show at the Interaccess Electronic Media Arts Centre, the yearly Emerging Artists show! I’m really excited and honored to be in this show, which has a very good reputation and has exhibited many up and coming artists who have gone on to have great careers.
Here’s the exhibition page on Interaccess’ website: http://interaccess.org/exhibitions/index.php
The Vital Details:
11th Annual Emerging Artist Exhibition
June 30 — August 13, 2011
Opening reception: Thursday, June 30th, 2011, 7-10pm
Tamara Platisa & Sasa Rajsic
Curated by InterAccess’ 2011 Curatorial Intern Scott Gamble
Last weekend I was lucky enough to participate in Mini Maker Faire Toronto. It was an excelently run event with a wide variety of projects, demonstrations and vendors.
It was also a great learning experiance for me that really hammered home that fact that you must always be mindful of your audience. I brought Prevailing Winds to the faire and on the first day presented it pretty much as I had at Xinfinity, running in a mainly automomous and passive mode. This did not work out very well and most people seemed to ignore my piece.
Looking at the other projects at the Faire it was obvious that they were mostly highly-interacive and engaging with users. There were lots of children and they were all on the look out for an opratunity to play.
On the second day I made some changes to my setup. Overnight I wrote a simple touch-screen interface for Prevailing Winds with the intention of engaging people in a more active way in this non-gallery setting. The changes were a great success and on the second day lots of people took time to check out and have fun with my piece.
A fun weekend in geek paradise and a valuable lesson learned. Hard to beat.
The show is over and unfortunately I can’t say that I am 100% happy with my piece.I feel that it was under-developed and really not in a state where I felt happy showing it. People generally didn’t understand what it was about and I can’t say I blame them, it really is unclear.
There was a common complaint from the artists that their work was hard to interpret without descriptions or artist’s statements posted, and while I agree with this assessment in general and feel that a posted description would have helped my piece I also take full responsibility for viewers inability to understand what I was trying to say. Ideally a piece like this should speak for itself and not require explanation to be communicative.
Most people seemed to make the connection between the plants and their flags, but were unable to ascertain what the plants represented, if anything. Falling back to incorporating collage work and posters as I had earlier intended would have helped with this. Alternatively some sort of spray painted message could have helped here also. I also felt that my LEDs were somewhat superfluous, and at the very least having them pulse occasionally didn’t really communicate anything meaningful as I had hoped, rather it served as more of a distraction than anything.
The main problem I had was that I was behind schedule from day one. I was constantly trying to play catchup and things like work and projects for other classes were taking up too much of my time. Had I used my time better I could have used the extra days to make these observations before the show and hopefully could have remedied them. Though from this project I learned basically nothing from a technological level I feel that I have certainly had a valuable lesson in time management and the importance of giving enough time to properly develop a piece.
This is what my “planter” will look like once built. It will be about 6′ tall, 4′ wide and 1.5′ deep. I am going to build the frame mostly out of some 2x4s that I have, and will use some sort of wood paneling for the sides. It will be painted black.
I’ve bought my eight money trees.
Did some shopping for potential plants to use in the piece, likely will use “Money Trees” (see bottom picture).
What I would like to make for my project is an organic data visualization of the G8 countries’ record of environmental stewardship. This will be done by growing plants with varying levels of nutrients based off of the environmental records of each county; those that are good to their environment will have healthy plants, those that aren’t will have unhealthy ones.
Feedback: Based off of the feedback I have received I’ve decided to make some changes to the project. The largest of which is instead of growing plants from seed I will start with fully grown plants and damage them in varying degrees. This decision was come to partially because it will have less time constraints than growing seeds but also because really it is a better analog to society’s relationship with the environment.
I’ve decided to do the Biological Data Visualization, here are some people working in similar conceptual areas.
These two series of images by Chris Jordan display specific quantities of various things to visually illustrate the scale in which they are consumed, abused, sold, etc. In a similar way I hope to create a less abstracted representation of environmentalism than the bare numbers can show.
This photographic series depicts the decomposing remains of baby albatrosses that have died from their parents inadvertently feeding them large quantities of plastic waste. As their bodies rot away their garbage filled bodies open up revealing the masses of plastic which killed them. I draw a large amount of inspiration from this piece as it is very effective and works in a similar manner to my own. The images of death and maladies are similar to what I want to display with my plants and also are used to put forward a similar ecological message to what I wish to say.
Poster Pocket Plants is a public intervention work in which posters in public places are modified to form pockets in which various types of plants are planted. I am drawing from this work mainly in a visual perspective. I like the look of the the plants growing out of a wall as well as it’s juxtaposing of “innocent” plants with a very message-heavy (largely advertisements) backdrop. Also bringing the plants up to eye level is probably a good idea as my plants will likely be rather small at the time of exhibition.
Using (virtual) lichen to represent land area covered by forests around the world. This is the sort of direct and visceral correlation I want to go for.
Materialistically much of Singer’s work deals with plants and living organisms, thematically he looks into the dichotomy of intellectual and emotional perception, as well as the juxtaposition of traditionally indoor and outdoor spaces; both of which are elements I wish to explore in my piece.
unknown - G20 Protest Graffiti (2010)
I’ve been thinking that the countries I will focus on for this will be rich G20/G8 nations. I’m going to integrate protest-style stencil work into the piece in reference to the protest these organizations often attract.
GreenHouse relates to my piece largely on a technical level in that a machine is caring for a plant. The point of departure is that while GreenHouse seeks to recreate realistic weather conditions I will seek to recreate ecological health.
Today Kwame and I colaborated over skype to create a networked light. On my end I set up a sever that his client connected to. My end set the value for the LED and which was reflected in the light value.
We found that their was a large amount of delay in with the light which we found odd because we were running a video chat on Skype with little delay. This may have something to do with our ISPs de-prioritizing our light’s connection, or possibly because of the more decentralized nature of Skype’s peer-to-peer connection and it not having to pass through as many routers/switches.
After recently reading Julian Bleeker’s A Manifesto for Networked Objects — Cohabiting with Pigeons, Arphids and Aibos in the Internet of Things the most inspirational concepts covered which I would like to incorperate into my practice are the ideas of “things” which have citizenship and agency.
Two relevant quotes:
“Things” in the pervasive Internet, will become first-class citizens with which we will interact and communicate. Things will have to be taken into account as they assume the role of socially relevant actors and strong-willed agents that create socialcapital and reconfigure the ways in which we live within and move about physical space. (Page 2)
Agency is literally imbued in Blogjects. Things that matter completely sully the previously starched white relationship between subject and object, human and nonhuman. Things that matter inflect the course of social debate and discussion, and cannot help inflicting local and global change. Witness the Spotted Owl. Witness the Pacific Northwest Salmon. Witness all the non-human, non-subject “things” that became fully imbued with the status of first-class citizens. Heck, most humans don’t have the capacity to effect the kind of worldly change and receive the same order of protection, status and economic resources as a fish. (Page 9)
I am not necessarily interested explicity with the idea of Blogjects or networking but more with the concept of works which “inflect the course of social debate and discussion, and cannot help inflicting local and global change”. The internet, telematics, and the social web are already deeply imbued within my work and personal conceptual landscape, however I have felt at times that my work may have often been somewhat inconsequential in a critical sense. It’s not that I feel I haven’t been saying things with my work, but perhaps I haven’t been saying things that really need to be said. That, or perhaps that they would be better said not through my work, but by my work. It’s one thing to throw a bunch of garbage on the floor of a gallery and say “I put this here, and take my word for it it’s happening everywhere”, it’s another thing entirely to create a scenario where garbage is on the floor of the gallery and you can say “We put this here, and everywhere else too”.
With these ideas in mind I would like to create a piece which carries with it a social/ethical message as well as a means to back up. I don’t want to create an opinionated artwork, but an argumentative artwork.
Zero Sum Game:
Playing with the concept (and often illusion) of a zero sum game interests me. This idea is for a device with solicits people to vote for the “life” of two objects. These objects (which might be living, ie plants) would be one of a kind and not reproducible. At the end of the show the object with the least “live” votes will be automatically destroyed. In the event of a tie both will be destroyed in an effort force people to make a choice. It will be interesting to see who plays by the rules, who abstains, and if anybody attempts to liberate the prisinors. This would be a physical interactive installation. A fair amount of electronic work would need to be done, and an appropriate destruction mechanism devised.
Biological Data Visualization:
This idea is to make a data visualization that comments on environmentalism (or the lack of it) in various countries. Plants would be grown with varying levels of nutrients provided by a device based off of data on the countries’ environmental records. A physical piece that would take a long time to “grow”. The showing in the gallery would essentially be a look at the results of the project. Worried about time constraints for this one.
Ethics of Choice:
The story is that you’re walking across a park somewhere, there’s a shallow ornamental pond that you see there, and you see that a small child has fallen into it, a toddler. You look around for the parents, the babysitter, but you can’t see anyone.
So it looks like if you don’t rush into the pond and pull the child out there’s a good chance that the child will drown. But just this morning you realize that you put on your favorite pair of shoes, a very expensive pair of shoes that you bought, and if you wade into the pond with them, they’re probably going to get ruined. And we’ll assume that it takes too long to take them off, so you don’t have that choice. You either save the child and ruin the shoes or you don’t save the child but your shoes are fine.
Now, when I ask my students, “What should you do in those circumstances?” I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly reassured to know that what they say is you should save the child. And, in fact, that’s pretty much a universal response that you get to that. Everybody says you can’t compare a child’s life with a pair of shoes, no matter what designer-brand expensive shoes they might be. I think that’s clearly right; that’s clearly the way we ought to feel about the situation.
Given that, and given that UNICEF tells us that there are about ten million children who die each year from preventable poverty-related causes—causes like diarrhea or measles or malaria, things that we could either prevent or, if they get them, we could cure—given that, how is it that we think it’s okay, that we think we can still be decent people, ethical people, if we do nothing about that situation, if we don’t give even the cost of one expensive pair of shoes, to do something about helping people in extreme poverty or reducing the death toll of children in extreme poverty?
I’d like to do a piece that riffs off of that. Something like a reverse vending machine. The scenarios is that you give the machine something that you own and have with you (shoes?) and it puts that item up for sale on a site like Craigslist or eBay. Money raised is donated to a good cause of some description. This would be a sort of networked installation, maybe the closest of these ideas to a Blogject as Bleeker described. It would be a pretty intensive project from a technical perspective, requires a lot of r&d.