COLLISIONcollective

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*                        For engineers that moonlight as artists and artists that moonlight as engineers                                         *
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An act of benevolent shaming: re-fabricated moon rocks

3d software, 3d printed plastic filament, cut vinyl, paint, text, podium.
2012
Artwork by [user-name]

"An act of benevolent shaming" is an act of recompense for past transgressions and absent-mindedness: the re-fabrication of the lost moon rocks.

Over 840 lbs of soil samples and rocks were brought to earth by the Apollo astronauts. These are distinct from objects which have, unaided by human endeavor, otherwise made their way earthward (chunks of the moon, for example, dislodged by meteorites). Of these samples, an alarming and embarrassing amount have "gone missing". Inspired by images of “Lunar Sample 71575”, for instance, nestled amongst its brethren, I am attempting to put the band back together again.

There are 12 moon rocks. 12 like the number of the apostles, or inches in a foot, or the hours in a half day: a form of marking that dates from a time when math and fiction shared more common roots.

The rocks were fabricated using a 3d printer. The models were created using a mix of applications, including Blender, Sketchup, and netfabb Studio. From bits to solid forms: a sort of modern alchemy. There is also a stylized cut-vinyl crater on the wall. Brand awarness and logos have of course now made their way to the moon.

"An act of benevolent shaming" is part of an ongoing project which combines images, objects, and text.  Titled "Moonfarming - an Illustrated Encyclopedia" the project is an experment in 3d storytelling, exploring nostalgia, data, and the common need for a place of fantasy.

The Looking Glass; Contracted & Expanding

Brass & Copper plate, wood, latex paint, nails (fasteners), Blackberry Playbook tablet computers
2012
The Looking Glass; Contracted & Expanding
The Looking Glass; Contracted & Expanding
The Looking Glass; Contracted & Expanding @COLLSION18:present

The Looking Glass; Contracted & Expanding attempts to function as a critical cross-section of contemporary portraiture and the portrayal of identity within the modern age.  Founded upon the premise of the video blog as being the most modern form of portraiture, the piece seeks to investigate socio-cultural differences between past and present and how such differences have been articulated through new-media portraits.  For starters, the video blog portrait, due to its ubiquitous nature and limitless accessibility, actively challenges our conceptions of subjective and collective significance that predecessor media had established over the centuries.  Essentially, the piece asks whether or not the power of canonization innate to the practice of portraiture has been reduced or expanded by new media.

Formally, the objective with the piece is to expose the widening rift between this form of contemporary portraiture and its roots in commemorative portraiture by contextualizing selected video blog portraits within an archaic and somewhat ironic realm of tribute.  The piece itself consists of five wooden handmade frames (12.5”x10”) that have been coated in etched copper and brass plates.  The plates have been acid etched using a process similar to most methods of circuit board etching, thereby uniting the materials’ connection to contemporary practices of fabrication.  The etchings themselves depict classical framing iconography derived from pre-photographic eras wherein the subject of a (painted) portrait was intended to have commemorative or honorary value; an aspect that seems to have been perverted or at the very least watered down by this new method of portrait making.  Moreover, the etched framing iconography subtly morphs into arguably more familiar icons that traditionally decorate circuit boards.

Housed inside of the frames are tablet computers that play looped animations ranging from eight seconds in length to forty two seconds.  Four of the animations (subjects) are hand-drawn portraits of randomly selected video-bloggers from YouTube.  The stills reflect a disparity between the identity projected from a video and that of the identity projected by a two-dimensional portrait, and yet candid shreds of the subject’s honesty and vulnerability shine through the abstracted stills.  A single subject is not animated, but instead she remains a single screenshot that attempts to articulate the minute and rare beauty privy to this select medium of portraiture; all the while referencing the medium of photographic portraiture that exists somewhere between a hand fabricated portrait and a video portrait.  Altogether, as each ‘portrait’ plays endlessly, ones eyes are fervently pulled in every direction as the viewer attempts to simultaneously digest each of the portraits.  This particular action replicates the sensation of binging on Internet personalities and identities, leaving one commonly feeling over-stimulated and under-impressed by the individuals featured therein.

Wonder

proximity sensor, 54 servo motors, Arduino microprocessor, MDF panel, acrylic, house paint, spray paint, ink and graphite
2011
Artwork by [user-name]
Artwork by [user-name]
Artwork by [user-name]

Wonder (2011) is an interactive, kinetic sculpture that is brought to life by the movement of others. From a distance, the white dots appear to be a constellation, and the work remains static. As a person approaches, the motors suddenly come to life and the dots slowly coalesce to spell the word 'wonder'. However, much like a pointillist painting, the word is illegible when viewed up close. Because of that, it ideally requires two or more people to participate. The person approaching or ‘wondering’ becomes the artist/performer, physically bringing the work to fruition with their movements. Onlookers are given the ability to see the ‘wonder’ in the making, both literally and metaphorically. The typically passive act of looking becomes a physically active performance, and people in the vicinity are able to watch and be entertained by the spectacle of it. It is the sculpture's playful nature that really interests me. Whether or not viewers ever discover the word ‘wonder’ within the work is not important. Meaning is constructed and elaborated collectively, through a shared and hopefully memorable experience. 

something mechanical in something living

laser cut white and reflective silver vinyl, paint
2011
Artwork by [user-name]

something mechanical in something living documents my astoundingly unsuccessful attempt to “train” Dragon system’s speech to text translation software. Following several minutes of misinterpretations I began to laugh. The microphone continued to record my sounds and the software struggled dutifully to interpret my apparent words. The more I read the resulting text the harder I laughed, becoming a self-generating humor machine.

The title of the piece is taken from a work by Henri Bergson - Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of Comic.

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.

Mechanical Universe, Part I: The Pastoral

Oil paint on wood, aluminum (steel brackets), motors, solar panels, wire, electronics
2008
Artwork by [user-name]

Mechanical Universe originally was created for the Boston Cyberarts Festival and shown as part of the 2007 festival at TransCultural Exchange: Punzo shipped his cyber insects to the Boston, where I created their ‘living spaces’ - part irreverent homage to Donald Judd; part reverent homage to Jean Tinguely and Alexander Calder. But pure Punzo and Sherman.
Each 'box' is a collage of highly textured paint and polished aluminum.
At the push of a button, the doors open at staggered intervals, revealing a host of musical 'cyber insects,' before slamming close. The individual 'boxes' also can be re-configured to respond to the architecture of the space in which the piece is exhibited. The idea is to create an up-dated, modular version of the 17th century Italian pastoral by way of the 21st century
Special thanks to George Bossarte for electronic/programming help; and Nexus Machine Shop and Gallery for use of the shop

One Small Step

Moon globe, child’s moon-boots, plastic, metal foils, light blue paint, Qwerk robot controller, motors, sensors, misc. additional mechatronic components.
2009
Artwork by [user-name]

A moon globe sits in a stand on the floor of the gallery near the wall. A mechanical structure attached to the gallery wall supports a child’s moon-boot above the globe by two thin cables each of which is controlled by a winch motor. Movements of the winch motors puppet the boot to perform a walking motion with a bounce like that of the Apollo astronauts as they explored the moon’s surface. A small toy satellite dish is gimbal-mounted above the boot mechanism so that two additional motors can make it peer in different directions around the gallery. It sweeps the gallery looking for “life” which in this case equates to anything that interrupts the beam of its low-end IR range-finder, including occasionally itself. A third motor on the boot turns the winch assembly so
that the boot can “walk” in different compass direction depending on where the satellite dish indicates it should search. “One Small Step” is a simple robot that quixotically “believes” it is living every robot’s dream: to go to other celestial bodies and look for life.

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