The line-up of robots, sculptures and installations the New York artist and assistant professor at Union College summoned to his show is pretty impressive: there are suitcases maniacally monitoring the space, dysfunctional toys, a bird that talks in its dreams, people trying to jump the queue, Adam, Eve, even the Spaceman is there. Each of them provided me with the perfect excuse to ask Fernando to tell us about some of his latest pieces.
You currently have a solo show at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Can you tell me how the exhibition came to be? Is this a solo show with a curator who selectioned existing pieces and commissioned new ones? Or were you the captain of the enterprise?
The story behind the exhibition starts five years ago while I was a graduate student at the Ohio State University. While there, I met Jesse De La Rosa, a gifted painter who is as passionate and crazy about making art as I am. We became fast friends, staying in contact over the years. Last year he approached me to put on an electronic art exhibition at Texas A&M University-Kingsville where he is an Assistant Professor of printmaking. He gave me complete freedom, with the condition that I would send him, in his words, "robots, robots, robots!" Beyond that, I could do whatever I like with the 3000 sq ft. Ben Bailey Art Gallery. Thanks again Jesse!
How come so many works of yours emerged this year? It's only March! Did you get a sudden burst of energy or were you working on the pieces for a long time? Do you see these pieces as a sole body of work or are they all individual and almost unrelated?
Last year was my first sabbatical from Union College, which allowed me lots of time to develop completely new work, travel, and participate in a couple of residencies. I designed the new work for the exhibition in Texas last year during my residencies at the Vermont Studio in Johnson, VT and the Takt Kunstprojektraum in Berlin, Germany. It was all finalized this year during the months of January and February.
I do see these new artworks as one body of work, though it isn't quite done yet. I have three other pieces in the studio that need to be completed and they are of the same vein. Though they do range slightly in conceptual models, I believe that all of this new work shares the same aesthetic in the use of materials, the technology within, and emphasis on minimalism. After these works are complete (by the end of the Summer), I'll be moving on to new ideas, which will involve creating robotic vessels and technological interfaces for the dead. Stay tuned!
I certainly shall. Let's start the tour of the Texas show with Corpus Callosum. What do the birds tell to each other exactly? Where do the words they tell each other come from? Why did you call the work Corpus Callosum?
The artwork Corpus Callosum was born from my research and interest in dreams. I like to believe that we are living two separate lives, one in the dream world, and one in the waking world. I find it fascinating that, for the most part, we forget about our waking-selves in our dreams and forget about our dream-selves in our waking-life. This maybe why we rarely understand our dreams. The narrative inside the dream world is as complex as the one in our waking world. If we could drop a person's consciousness randomly into another person's body for a couple hours, and then, after the fact, asked them what was going on in the life of the body they inhabited, I suspect they wouldn't have a clue what was taking place. They could probably only report bits and pieces of the entire narrative. Especially if all the rules of normal physics did not apply like in our dream universes.
I know the whole thing sounds crazy, I definitely concede that. But once you push through the ridiculous, there are some interesting questions and possibilities that surface. For me, one of the questions I kept returning to was what would our waking self and our dream self talk about if they could have a conversation. My response to this question was creating Corpus Callosum.
Corpus Callosum is the anatomical part of the brain that connects the left hemisphere with the right hemisphere. It is the information superhighway of our minds, pushing data back and forth. I thought that was a nice title to frame the premise of the piece.
The words that the birds speak to each other are a list of phrases I wrote. Each bird has about fifty phrases that it can randomly choose from. Some of the phrases yield specific behaviors and others do not (i.e. if a question comes up, the bird will face the other bird). The waking bird's dialogue is grounded in this world, based on the ego and focusing on daily issues relating to errands, anxiety, and other common real-world problems. The dream bird's phrases branch from the illogical; scenarios that might be found in dreams or are associated with the Id.
Paradiso, a piece where Adam, Eve and an astronaut face tiny tv screens, uses a database of character dialogue. And the result is pretty strange. Where does this database come from? What is the scenario in Paradiso? How did the spaceman come to find himself between Adam and Eve? What did you try to achieve/communicate with this work? I have even more questions but i guess it's better if i stop here!
Why did you stop?! More! More! More!
Paradiso stems from my childhood. As a toddler, I remember my mother telling me the story of Genesis, specifically the fable of paradise and the Garden of Eden. To a kid, with a hyperactive imagination, this story was really fun to entertain and explore. Amongst other things, what I wondered then, and still do now, is what Adam and Eve talked about before they were expelled from paradise.
At the same time, for a couple years, I have wanted to make a piece that generatively made a television show; specifically a reality television show. I'm not sure why, I guess I just thought it would be funny. In the story of paradise I discovered my reality-tv actors. In Adam's character I imagined the beta human, completely satisfied and accepting his surroundings, and yet, confused and bewildered by everything. With Eve I found the desperate scientist, thirsting for knowledge and answers to her endless stream of questions and criticism. Together I found them to be an interesting whole, comprised of what is in all of us.
Then there is the spaceman. The mysterious spaceman, who tries to relate, but is out of touch or perhaps too busy to really connect. Yet, he is completely enamored with both of them, always encouraging them to move forward, and helping in unrelated ways. With one unbending truth: his spacesuit is totally awesome.
I wrote a good portion of the dialogue for all three actors myself. The rest of it came from a brainstorming session with my wife, Melinda McDaniel, and four of our artist friends, Heather Willems, Seamus Liam O'Brien, Nora Herting, and Gregor Wynnyczuk. I asked them all, "What would Adam, Eve, and the Spaceman talk to each other about"? After a couple hours of deliberating, one or two bottles of wine, and some technology clarifications, we came up with a list of phrases. We then took turns acting out the scripts, embodying the characters, and noting if the phrases worked with each other. The exercise was great, allowing me to see the script live, much like a director of a television program does.
The whole thing is works using a Mac-mini, Processing, and some flavor of an Arduino. The computer program I wrote decides at random who will speak, what direction they will face, and what they will say. The resulting real-time show can only be described as surreal and a bit creepy. There are long moments in the show in which the doll's avatars sync up in dialogue perfectly. Much like dada poetry, they arrive at insightful windows into the nature of our relationship with one another, and, perhaps, with the spaceman who we may or may not branch from.
In the future, I plan on broadcasting the live video feed through the internet so people can tune in whenever they like. That will likely happen the next time I exhibit the work.
There's no description of The Little Houses and The Living on your website as i'm writing. They both look great. Really great (note that my enthusiasm is sincere.) I know you're busy updating the website but if you find time to tell me something about them i'd be very grateful....
The Living draws inspiration from Plato's Allegory of the Cave, which speaks of the nature of our perception and delusion with reality. The six large heads in this sculpture cannot look behind themselves. Speaking to each other with bursts of light emanating from their mouth, they can only look forward and side-to-side. The large light bulbs on their heads are symbolic of both their consciousness and the sun that blinds them from truth. The wheels that are fastened to their cribs allow them the potential to escape at any moment, and yet, they do not; they remain happily anxious in the bliss of ignorance.
In many ways, The Living is a sketch for a much larger piece I have planned. The subject matter of that future piece will be different, but the use of materials and stylization will likely remain the same. I also think that it is one of my first successful attempts at blending my painting imagery with my sculpture. If you ask me what my sculpture will look like in five years, I would point to this piece.
The Little Houses is a piece about the dwellings we all live in. In some ways it is a continuation of my piece 8520 S.W. 27th Pl.. We live out our lives in enclosed spaces, looking out through our windows and our doors and our peepholes and our video screens. Inside we live in separate but intertwined universes, completely aware that we are helplessly out of control. We distract ourselves just enough with different flavors of pleasure and erotica, so as not to be driven mad by the desperation of it all. Tomorrow, we fall away into our appointment with oblivion. We might as well tune in the Disney channel to pass the time. Again.
While clicking around your website i came upon Elevator's Music which isn't included in the exhibition at Texas A&M University in Kingsville, Texas but i'm still curious about it. I read on the project page that you installed the work in an elevator of the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College. How did people react to the robots? Didn't they feel threatened? Did you have to warn elevator-goers of their presence or could you leave them the surprise? Btw, do they still put music in elevators? Or is this just a legend?
In Manhattan, a couple days ago, I saw a DJ playing records in an elevator, so yes, I think they still put music in elevators.
If I had it my way, I would embed robots in all of the elevators! I cannot think of a better place for a robot to live. There is a consistent source of power, the weather never changes, someone is always around to keep an eye on them, and they are far more entertaining than elevator musak. If any elevators out there want a robot, please send me an email. Long live the robots!
I have learned a couple things about installing robots in an elevator. First, I learned that a very small portion of the population is 100% not cool with hanging out in a small enclosed room with four curious robots. This same minority group did feel threatened, but only because they thought big brother was watching them (which he wasn't) or that laser beams were going to disintegrate them (which is crazy). I suspect that these are the same people who are afraid of spilling salt, breaking a mirror, or were very disappointed when they learned Santa Clause was not real.
On the other hand, I learned that most of the population is completely fascinated with robots in elevators, so much so that they tend not to leave the elevator. The people hangout in the elevator, riding along a couple times, until they realize they might be in the way. Perhaps the weirdest part about the whole ordeal is when you enter an occupied elevator at the ground floor and most of the previous passengers do not get out. For a moment, you find yourself wondering why this crowd is loitering inside, why they are all smiling staring at the ceiling, and why not one of them is pressing a button for a destination in the building. Of course, you immediately discover why that is, as those elevator doors slam home and the laser yielding robots emerge.
In our previous email conversation (if you don't mind me reproducing part of it here), when i told you how i felt that your work was not so much about technology anymore, it has its own sculptural quality. You answered that indeed your work had transitioned from tech objects to simply sculptures, that it had been a very conscious effort. Why this transition? Did it occur naturally or it part of a strategy?
I feel like I have done a lot of maturing in my romance with technology and art. When I first met technology, I was completely dumb struck: amazed at the magic and the endless possibility of its applications. I spent years in this infatuation, happy to only use technology for the sake of technology. An old acquaintance of mine called it "technomasturbation". In recent years I have become completely uninterested in this approach. In a way, the magic of technology has faded for me. Perhaps it is because I now feel comfortable using it in my art. Or maybe it is because the process isn't as important anymore. Regardless, what is surfacing now is much more of my classical training in art, with an emphasis on concept, form, material, and design. I like to think that my new work is no longer about advancing technology, using the latest greatest technologies, or discussing the theory. For me, it is now simply about poetry.
I have this theory: when artists first recognize that they can use digital technologies in their artwork (I include myself in this), almost all of them get seduced by this magical medium. They end up making artwork about technology itself, probably because learning the process is such an uphill battle, drawing skills from so many different non-art related disciplines. When they talk and write about the resulting art they have made, they usually focus on the fine details, embellishing on what it took to make the work, what makes it tick, and what special technology they used. Whatever concept they had takes a back seat to this conversation. I see this in my students over and over again. Even the most gifted students, who are well versed in conceptual art, buckle at the knees when they realize the potential of the medium. Soon they too are reinventing the drawing machine (to my credit, I did come up with a unique design for my drawing machine rerun), the super-cool-multi-touch data remix screen saver, or the custom built, Arduino driven, LED matrix display they could have just purchased.
However, this is a just a phase. Perhaps we can see this as the techno-puppy-love stage of electronic art. I think most artists who continue to use digital technologies in their artwork will eventually find their way to a comfort level with the medium. Once there, they can refocus their energy on the poetics and concepts of art, not the tools. Certainly you see this in the traditional mediums. When a painter first starts down his/her path, they usually lose themselves in the process, obsessed with the paints, the canvas, and that funny looking fan brush. Only after some practice and discovery do they arrive at more meaningful subjects.
I think this techno-puppy-love stage also goes for the audience of electronic art. Since the medium is very much in its infancy and many people still have trouble accepting Pop art, I can see why most of the questions are about how the thing works, not what it means. Asking what something means suggests it might be art. Asking how it works keeps it safe in gee-whiz gadget land.
With the audience the transition period from techno-puppy-love to a real relationship is much slower, probably because they aren't in the trenches with the tools. Perhaps this is why so many new media art fairs and conferences are still focused on showcasing the latest greatest technologies and less in the poetry found within it. Certainly that approach is a better marketing tool, considering that this technomasturbation is what the audience is thirsting for.
Fernando Orellana - At the Tone, Please Leave a Message is on view until April 1, 2011 at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
Riley showed me What It Is Without the Hand That Wields It, a piece which has been touring the festivals and exhibitions almost non-stop since 2008. I obviously felt deeply humiliated not to have come across it before.
What It Is Without the Hand That Wields It is one of those game-based pieces where the actions of online players have consequences on the physical space (see Domestic Tension for example or in a more imaginary way, John-Paul Bichard's Evidencia series.) It is also a work that is so simple and effective you wonder why no one thought about it before.
While exonemo's UN-DEAD-LINK translated digitized and symbolized death into the 'screaming' and motion of everyday devices, Riley Harmon went for the visceral and powerful experience. Each time a player dies in a game of Counter-strike, a popular online first person shooter, electronic solenoid valves open up and dispense a small amount of fake blood. The trails left down the wall create a physical manifestation of virtual kills, bridging the two realities. During the show's run players who have a copy of Counter-Strike can join the game and spill more blood over the walls and floor of the exhibition space:
The installation will be on view this Fall at Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center. It will then travel to Istanbul, location TBA.
Don't miss Harmon's Passengers video series. Some are still works in progress, others are already on the homepage of his website. I laugh each time is see them. Laugh and feel uncomfortable too. The artist cut scenes from Hollywood movies, removed one of the two characters sitting in a car and took his place. Except that he's not participating in the dialogue nor displaying a facial expression that would match the scene in any way. Here's an example:
The title of Club Transmediale's exhibition, Alles, was Sie über Chemie wissen müssen (Everything You Need to Know about Chemistry), is based on a notebook with blank pages, published by an international science publisher.
An intriguing and cheeky enough opening for me.
No matter how much I love exhibitions at new media art festivals, i often find myself suspecting that the curatorial vision behind many of them is little more than an after-thought. This was certainly not the case with Alles, was Sie über Chemie wissen müssen and i can't praise curators Hicham Khalidi and Suzanne Wallinga enough for their exquisite, intelligent contribution to Club Transmediale.
The show wasn't afraid to call upon works from the early '70s to dialogue with new pieces on a theme that others than Khalidi and Wallinga might have been explored in a fairly lazy way: the physical interaction between people and things. To be honest, the description of the exhibition theme was a bit intimidating, the show attempts to convey an experience of Befindlichkeit (existential orientation), of the physical interaction between people and things, as described, for example, by Gernot Böhme: a primary experience of atmosphere, of "moods" that can be encountered in human and natural surroundings, in which there is no sharp distinction between person and thing. In Alles, was Sie über Chemie wissen müssen, the experience of winds, of feeling, of substance occurs through different manners of physical presence. The relationship between body and medium leads, either through the creation or perception of work, to the experience of a mental space where alternative ways of understanding the body may arise.
You didn't have to read Heidegger to find the show entirely enjoyable though.
One of the works that best concretized the theme of the exhibition is Aura by Joyce Hinterding, an artist whose practice investigates energetic forces, in particular acoustic and electromagnetic phenomena. Aura is made of graphite and gold drawings which, when connected to a sound system, become fractal antennas. As soon as i took off my camera to take a picture, i realized that the drawings made audible the presence of electromagnetic fields within the gallery. A text about the work explains that tracing one's finger over Hinterding's lines produces electrical sounds akin to those emitted by a theremin" but since i'm still not used to manipulating artworks, unless specifically invited to do so, i didn't dare touch the drawings. Besides, there was a guard in the room.
Rik Smits's ballpoint drawing Scorpoda Capital is a fascinating, slightly fearsome city driven by a taste for Dubai-worthy architecture, self-importance and luxury. Add to those, hints to the darkest chapters from the Old Testament (but that might just be my imagination) and an eerie absence of visible human beings.
Jelle Feringa's Analemma was probably the most insidiously fascinating piece in the show. In astronomy, an analemma (from a Greek word that meant "pedestal of a sundial") is a figure of eight-like curved traced in the sky when the position of the Sun is plotted at the same time each day over a calendar year from a particular location on Earth.
Feringa's Analemma defies the earth's 29.783 km/sec velocity by casting a perfectly circular shadow on the ground. No matter the time of the day, the day in the year, the latitude.
Jorinde Voigt's Grammatik combines several parameters, such as spinning aeroplane propellers, writing on the propellers (64 grammatical possibilities, declination of the personal pronouns, who loves who, who doesn't love who) and the size of the blades (the first person singular corresponds to the biggest blade. The third person plural corresponds to the smallest blade). Next to that, the installation defines the grammatical system even more precise by the declination of the rotation speed, 0 to maximum, individually controllable speed (the artist does not specify how fast each blade has to turn; every speed within the possible range is correct) and the declination of the direction of rotation: turning to the left or to the right. Technically, this corresponds to whether the blade turns away from or towards the observer.
Loved the show, took tons of pictures.
Just a quick post to explain this long-ish silence. I miss you readers but right now i'm wrapped up inside a Book Sprint, a one week-long collective authoring of a book. The first Book Sprint edition was launched in Berlin during Transmediale. Titled Collaborative Futures, it was written by some of the smartest people i know. Following in their footsteps is a humbling experience. The Book Sprint i'm participating to is directed by the lovely Andrea Grover, as part of her research fellowship at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Our A/S/T Book Sprint explores the work of contemporary artists who are working at the intersection of art/science/technology, with a focus on the recent shift from artist/inventor dependent on industry or academy (as embodied by pioneering programs from the 1960s such as Art and Technology at LACMA and Experiments in Art & Technology), to independent agent (artists conducting scientific research or technological experiments outside the framework and discourse of an institution).
I'm in delightful and talented company: Claire L. Evans is an art and science writer who actually makes a living as a pop star. Pablo Garcia explores the spatial arts--architecture, design, and the visual and performing arts, in a variety of scales. His portfolio is as impressive as his knowledge of the history of the A/S/T field. Andrea also had the bright idea of involving graphic designers Jessica Young, and Luke Bulman from Thumb in the whole production process. It's a blessing to be able to spy so closely on the working activity of these two.
And yes, the show is every bit as fun as it looks.
More updates soon.
I'm not sure how much i can cover from Transmediale this year since i could only attended the two first days, missing the crowd, the friends and some of the most exciting performances and presentations of the long weekend. I can tell you something about the seven transmediale Award nominees though. They were as different from each other as it is humanely possible and that's a sight i always welcome in a festival.
I didn't have a clear favourite this year but MACHT GESCHENKE: Das Kapital - Kritik der Politischen Ökonomie had the merit of making me smile.
Every single day since 25 May 2009, Christin Lahr is giving 1 cent to the German Federal Ministry of Finance via an online bank transfer. She fills in the 108 characters of the 'reason for payment' box with a few words from Karl Marx's CAPITAL - A Critique of Political Economy. It will take 43 years and 15 709 cents to transcribe the 1 696 500 characters of the book.
The increase in capital value by interest rates, the amount of work, life duration and cultural and symbolic capital have not been taken into account. The work is Lahr's gift to the people, appointed to the budget of the Federal Republic of Germany, securely kept in the archive and administrated by voted representatives.
If it were possible to freeze the present German financial deficit of € 1 746 599 197 210, Lahr's gift would cancel out this amount in approximately 300 years due to the exponential effects of inflation and compound interest rates.
Lahr's project received a Distinction from the jury. The winning project was Intelligent Bacteria - Saccharomyces cerevisiae, an acoustic and performative installation but also a research project developed by HONF - The House Of Natural Fiber in collaboration with scientists from the Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Indonesia. The work explores the field of microbiology and biotechnology from an art and science perspective, using DIY and open source technologies.
Intelligent Bacteria - Saccharomyces cerevisiae borrows part of its name from a species of budding yeast used since ancient times in brewing. Alcohol is indeed at the heart of the project. Because the consumption of alcohol is forbidden by religion in the country and its price has sharply increased last Spring due to a new governmental regulation, Indonesians have started to produce their own booze. However, most people have little understanding of the proper fermentation process and many have died or been poisoned in their attempt to make alcohol.
HONF teamed with the UGM researchers to develop and distribute a nontoxic fermentation technology that anyone can try at home. They hope that their method will be used by Indonesians to produce alcohol that is both affordable and safe for consumption. The group even had a bacteria performance on the closing night of the festival but as hinted above, i couldn't be there.
Another nominated work i need to mention is Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern's Wikipedia Art. The conceptual work was launched two years ago on Wikipedia as a conventional Wikipedia page, requiring thus art editors to abide by Wikipedia's standards of quality and verifiability, Any changes to the art had therefore to be published on, and cited from, 'credible' external sources from 'trustworthy' media outlets. Wikipedia Art blossomed this as a collaborative performance that kept on transforming itself through its editors discussions.
15 hours after its creation the page was deleted. Jimmy Wales called Kildall a troll. The artists were sued for trademark infringement by the Wikipedia Foundation, when they set up wikipediaart.org to archive their project.
The art world was not so supercilious. The project was even included in the Internet Pavilion of the Venice Biennale for 2009. In an interview to myartspace the author of the project explained that "one of the problems we discovered is that a huge demographic of very young people (ages 16-23) dominates the Wikipedia culture, ethos and information trade. The result is a bigger emphasis on pop culture and esoteric geek factoids, while topics like art movements and artists get sidelined. Try looking up something like "Warlock (Dungeons & Dragons)" as compared to, say, digital art star Cory Arcangel, who is currently on the cover of Art Forum. The standards for the two are completely opposing! The D&D page only uses online sources far from the mainstream, while the Cory Arcangel page references some of the most important museums in existence today. Despite this, the D&D page actually calls for "expansion," while the Arcangel page is prefaced with a disclaimer that its citations are insufficient."
Vincent Evrard recently graduated from the Ecole de Recherche Graphique in Brussels with a thesis that explored the relationship between men, the clouds and the internet. One of the outcomes of his investigation is Aphrogenea, an installation that plunges a computer into a bath of sterile oil. The computer does survive the ordeal. It breathes bubbles that slowly rise from the bottom of its screen. Once it has reached the top of the screen, the virtual bubble becomes an air bubble that rises through the oil to the surface of the tank where it vanishes into thin air.
For this second "Showcase" (an exhibition format for emergent artists), the iMAL center in Brussels has invited Vincent Evrard to present Aphrogenea and since i'm not sure i can make it to Brussels to see the work i thought i'd catch up with the artist and have him talk about his work:
The intro text to your work says that it was "born from a thesis Fixer les nuages which proposes a genealogy of clouds leading to the advent of the Internet.' Can you gives us more detail about this?
The ambition of "Fixer les nuages" is to approach, to observe the relationship that men have with clouds. This observation starts with an image (see below) that represents the path that information takes before and after it has come our way. I was curious about what this diagram tells us about the path taken by information and more precisely, about this particular point in the diagram where our connection turns into a cloud called "Internet." This observation allowed me to develop the idea of a new definition of internet through the cloud.
You can find more about my research on the website http://fixerlesnuages.tumblr.com/. That's where i collected a series of elements that relate more or less closely to the links between human/cloud/internet and my thesis is available online in PDF.
In order to illustrate this part of the reflection, i undertook to create a sculpture that would make something from this cloud/internet more tangible. That's how it all started. I had to immerse a computer in an environment that would allow the cloud/internet to emerge from the computer and finally exit through the screen. The bubbles that we see escape from the screen are something that come from the internet.
How did you get from clouds to oil?
I use oil to create a medium that allow viewers to see the passage that the bubble of cloud/internet has to take before it can reach the physical world.
I have a confession to make, when i sent you the email asking you for an interview i had not read about the bubble. I was just mesmerized by the sculptural presence of Aphrogenea and the boldness of throwing a computer inside liquid. Can you explain us how you chose to make the work look like this big luminous, graphic and solid-colored sculpture on a high pedestal?
Apart from the technical constraints that contributed to shaping Aphrogenea as we see it now, i thought it was essential to make a vertical sculpture. A vertical direction underlines the path taken from the bottom to the top: from the invisible to the invisible and then to the vanishing. My work consisted in making visible this itinerary.
Which type of oil are you using in this installation and what are its properties?
I use a mineral oil. It is more commonly found inside fridge engines. The characteristic of this oil is that it is electrically insulating. It also has a very specific heat capacity, a property which enables it to capture the heat produced by the screen and create a movement akin to an aura rising from the screen to the surface of the oil.
Now can you get a bit techy and explain us how the installation works? How can the bubble go through these transformations?
A pc running a processing applet is hidden inside the basement. The applet controls the screen display in the tank. When a virtual bubble approaches the upper border of the screen, the applet sends a command to an Arduino which turns on a air pump. The air pump switches off so quickly that only one bubble exits the screen. The connections between the tank and the inside of the base are limited to a vga cable, power supply and an air hose. They go through the base of the screen and cross the glass panel. The air hose rises through the whole screen and ends up at the top, between the two electronic elements where it blows the bubbles.
What was the biggest (technical or not) challenge you had to face when developing this work?
I presented this work for my jury evaluation at the ERG in June 2010. It turned out that the first time i managed to assemble the piece was precisely the day before the jury only because i didn't have a base before. Without the base, i could not fill in the tank to test whether it was perfectly sealed, nor could i plunge the screen inside the oil. I was running the risk of facing a leak or a fried screen on the day of the jury. However, i felt confident. I had spent the previous week immersing electronic material (webcam,...) and 220v electrical material inside the oil and everything worked just fine before, during and after the immersion. The main challenge was the whole organization. And getting my hands on 120 litres of oil. The company L' atelier du froid took a leap of faith and gave me the oil for free.
Any upcoming project? Exhibition? Ambition?
Right now, i'm mostly trying to exhibit Aphrogenea. I'm also looking for funding for my next installation. That one will also stem from the relationship man/cloud/internet.