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My Upcoming Residency at the RMG

I feel I should say a few words about my upcoming residency at the The Robert McLaughlin Gallery that begins in a few days (January 5, 2017).

I am grateful for this residency because it gives me the time and space to dedicate myself to finally scratch a creative itch that's been nagging at me for most of my life. And it's a perfect fit with the RMG's raison d'etre for creating this venue to help artists evolve. Here's an excerpt of the RMG's mission statement for the ArtLab:

The Art Lab residency program is unique in that it is only offered to artists who propose to experiment with new ideas, take risks and make dramatic departures from work they have done in the past. For example, artists may want to consider working in a new medium, with a collaborator, integrating another artistic discipline (i.e. performance, music etc..) or pursuing a community collaboration with outside partners. There are no expectations in terms of producing a completed work or body of work, but instead, artists are encouraged to make mistakes, try something new and explore.

Well, that's exactly what this residency means to me: it's a launching pad to reach an elusive creative goal I've sought since I was a child, one that is very different indeed from the fine-art landscape and figurative photographs I currently take (one of which will be on the walls of the RMG during my residency).

Rather than discuss my ideas and theories about The Network Vista now, I'll do so at some later time. I'm saving myself mentally for Sunday, January 15, 2017, when I'll be giving a presentation on what my residency is about. I'm taking this seriously as an opportunity to reexamine my theory of visual music, and how The Network Vista is a vital evolutionary step to get from theory to practice. Thus I must gather all my years of vague thoughts and start bringing them into focus, which will take a good amount of time which I don't have in great quantities at the moment.

My goal with the residency is twofold:

  •    To find a way to achieve a lifelong vision of a certain kind of patterned abstract space that I dub The Network Vista.

  •    Having found way to create this space, to apply what I've learned towards my AlgoRhythms so that I can finally create procedural animations of enough sophistication, depth, subtlety, and temporal and structural integrity to be able to share the same stage with music in its expressive power.

These are big goals. And this residency is a vital step towards helping me achieve them.

I will make excellent use of this opportunity, because this is a great opportunity, and I know the time will speed by all too quickly. So, barring unforeseen happenstances, I will be in the Lab everyday from opening to closing, assembling The Network Vista. It's an open lab, so please stop in and say Hello — I would be delighted to see you, and I wouldn't say no if you wanted to lend me a hand, because...

Assembling the The Network Vista will be a fun challenge, and I seek the public's help. Anyone is welcome, but I especially would like to enlist kids who want to play with the construction toys I'll be using. And if there are any experienced STEM people who know something about Arduino, I desperately could use your help!

Here, then, is a non-comprehensive list of the tasks I need to solve:

  • Devise and build rhythmic structures using Rokenbok, Clics, and Magna-Tiles.
  • Figure out how to drive (with Arduino, ideally) the motional effects that Rokenbok can do.
  • Devise architectonic strategies for spatial placement of these structures and their containers.
  • Create many mirrors of different shapes using reflective mylar.
  • Position those mirrors strategically to create ambiguous and complex spaces for the camera.
  • Construct lots of dedicated RGB LED lighting controlled by Arduino — which entails lots of soldering.
  • Orchestrate the lighting, which means carefully placing lots of tiny little LEDs and other things just right.

That's a lot of stuff to do in a short amount of time. That's why I'll take any help I can get!

You can see the names of three different construction toys that I'll be using to construct The Network Vista. I am deeply grateful to the following people and their companies for helping to subsidize my residency with their generous discounts:

  • The Valtech Team, makers of Magna-Tiles.
  • Frank Weihrauch of Playmais Canada, North American distributor of Clics, who has been very supportive.
  • And, especially, Paul Eichen, Executive Director of Rokenbok Education, who has taken an especial interest in this project.

Many thanks to them. These are wonderful construction toy systems (or, in the case of Rokenbok, a Student Design and Engineering System), and I encourage everyone to check them out, especially Rokenbok which I have been a fan of for many years. (Indeed I'll be using two of their STEM Labs for this project.)

Shortly after the conclusion of my residency — only after I have taken photographs of The Network Vista, whether in the Lab or elsewhere — these toys will be donated to The Maker Garden, Durham Region's own Community Makerspace that I have become involved with, and where I will conduct STEM classes with them.

I look very forward to starting my next series of photographs: The Network Vista.

Sat, Dec 31 2016, 18:26:04

I'm really excited, and I hope you can join me.

tags: The Network Vista



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