COLLISIONcollective

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exciter

LEDs, paint, sand on canvas; custom electronics and software
2009
Artwork by [user-name]

Exciter excites - two small forms tickle their large friend. After long effort finally all are in sync and energy flows, only to fail, break down and start again. What is the scale of this? Where is this occurring? Why do they fail so often?
There are two related ideas at play in exciter. The first is a formal idea involving the intersection of an organic gestural form described by hand-drawn marks in paint and sand, contrasted with a more formal, geometric idealization of that form through a carefully plotted patterns of LEDs. The two representations overlay and interrupt each other. A question of precedence is implied: which came first, either in construction or conception? Is one a truer representation than the other? Is one more "real" than the other?
The other idea explores the nature of the form itself. How is this form read? The gestural representation of the form contains its own cues for reading: the specificity of the marks which guide the eye, the relation of the form to the picture plane and boundaries, the trace energy of the hand left in the materials - this is the language in which paintings are read. Overlaid on this is a programmatic reading or articulation of the form through the code which controls the LEDs. The programmed LEDs destroy any concept of a picture plane and assert a totally different kind of formal space and intention. They also have the effect, in a subtle way, of making the viewer more passive, more expectant of a 'show', a spectacle or a result. The LEDs are assertive and dominant but also dependant on the surface in which they are embedded. They claim the space of intention and meaning but can they hold it against the physical image in which they reside.
In this piece I am attempting to play with these tensions - physical vs electronic representation, active vs passive viewing, the virtual space of painting vs a 'new media' virtual space - in order to explore the boundaries in between.

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