From the Studio

thoughts on art and process in action from a contemporary artist

Archive for the ‘LEDs’ Category

Pulse Project

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pulse

If you are wondering what you are looking at, it is my newest Interactive and Participatory piece and my first proper sound installation as shown at The LAB, SAn Francisco in the recent show Cubic (Sounds)2.

Visitors are invited to place a finger on the pulse sensor to have their pulse taken. This triggers the audio aspect of the piece: a story of a San Francisco Moment recorded from someone in San Francisco whose pulse matches theirs. The sound of the story is played by a the flask of Bay salt water using a vibrating piezo plate to convert it into a speaker.  The grey material is cotton cloth sculpted in a rough impression of San Francisco topography with a few major streets embroidered in red.

In the end the project worked and was well received.  I’m sorry to say that during most of the opening it was almost impossible to hear though.  Even when I made an exception for the opening and added a conventional speaker under the table to compete with the sound from the other sound installations in the echoing space it was too quiet once the room was full of talking people.  Still, for the rest of the show and at the beginning and end of the opening you could hear it and it ran beautifully.

This is a piece I would love to re-work and do again in a quieter space.  In a quiet space the flask of water speaks to you quietly, but audibly- intimately.

 

 

Written by Mary Corey March

December 8, 2013 at 10:31 am

Pulse Project

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I’m finishing up my sound installation.  componantsI can already see a richer, deeper version of this piece.

The base of this one was a very elegant instant hack.  I got one of my daughter’s clear play dough (not the brand, but the thing) containers where the dough had dried out utterly and cleaned it out and did some strategic trimming.  Perfect!  it looks like it was made for a base.  I was able to use some of the vellum from my other project as a diffuser for the base as well (which will also disguise the wires).  So fast, so perfectly neat.IMG_3778

The audio files are all converted and ready.  The pulse meter has been a bit on the evil side and we’re replacing it with a new one which should arrive today.  The air does not have a pulse of 220.

On the whole, so far so good.The show is open to the public Wednesday at the Lab with the actual opening on Thursday evening.

Written by Mary Corey March

December 4, 2013 at 12:19 am

Digital Warping

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IMG_5712There is no sign of the many yards of silk ribbon I hand-dyed for the weft or the last skein of white cotton for the warp.  Today was one of those days that all the little things go wrong… until I finally got the materials sorted out and started work.  That makes everything better.  Warping is so meditative.

The first layer of warp (the up and down bit you weave the weft/across bit through) is mostly in place now.  New yarn arriving Wednesday to finish that.  The optical fiber comes next, then some near-invisible mono-filament for structure.  Then some loo/warp setup-stuff, THEN I can start weaving.  I don’t think I can really hook up the LEDs to the optical fibers to get them to glow until the whole thing is woven.

I was testing the optical fibers again the other night.  They are meant to only pass light from one end to the other without you seeing it out the sides.  By abrading the surface you get a side-glow.  If I abrade any single fiber evenly the whole way the light won’t make it- it will go dark in the middle, so what I’m going to go for is an almost rainfall-like effect- individual fibers abraded differently.  The tricky thing here will be that I will have to apply all the abrasion before actually seeing any of it lit or woven, so I will only see a slightly more opaque bit to tell me where the light will be.

I have mountains of concept behind this work, but as usual I’m reluctant to talk publicly about it while the work is in-progress.  I want to hear people’s experience of the work before telling them what I think is important or what my intentions are.  A lot of it in this piece is about the meanings within the materials and their history, and the methods employed to produce the piece- drawing from a painting, digitization, cropping, weaving.  The image itself is around the 6th version of same.  Days and days of work and artistic decision-making have gone into a deceptively simple derivative image.

In other news tomorrow I’ll be meeting with the other artists in the show I organized for the Diego Gallery at SFAI (selected by an outside jury).  Interwoven Connections– contemporary fiber (April 28th-May 4th).  So far so good.  Four awesome women (Dara Rosenwasser, Jacqueline Buttice, Heather Jones and myself) working at the intersection of fiber, photography, chemistry and technology.

cropped

Written by Mary Corey March

April 9, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Graduate Open Studios

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studioGraduate Open Studios at SFAI is just around the corner.  Come see what me and everyone else is working on.

April 20, 12:00–5:00 pm

Map (you want to take the entrance on 22nd St, not 3rd St.)  It’s on the Second floor and includes all bays with orange doors.  I am in studio C7.  It’s in bay C (one of the nearer bays on the left, studio is in the back right corner).

If you come visit you may well find yourself incorporated into an artwork.  I usually use Open Studios events for their steady stream of people who can feed into my work, so I am often alternating between hosting my studio and actually working.  Also, I can’t stand being in my workspace looking at anything unfinished without working on something!

Underpinnings

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My next project is a 5′ x 3′ binary weaving with a warp in LED-lit optical fiber/paper-silk and cotton  and a black silk ribbon weft.

threadcount sortedOften to make something (particularly sculpture) you need to build something else to create the finished object: a mold, an armature, scaffolding, a pattern, a digital file, etc.

For my next new piece, it’s a frame loom.  And to make this loom with a 16 per inch thread count I need to drill 8 holes every inch for 5 feet and put nails in each hole.  Double that (top and bottom).  Then double it again, because my warp (the vertical bit you weave through) is made of both natural fibers and optical fiber.  To separate the optical fiber and give it space apart from the other fibers to put it together heat-shrink couplings (to attach them to the lights) I need a few inches distance… so another row of nails.  It comes to a little over 2600 holes and nails.  Why drill?  Well, as you can see in the test loom (left), when you don’t drill, the wood splits, and the loom breaks.

The image to the left is the finalized thread-count and materials composition after some tests.  I will use the black and white squares to create an image, just like in the  previous (smaller!) Binary Drawing turned-weaving.

IMG_4055Right now I’m nearly halfway there with drilling (you can see some corrected mistakes on the left row), but a few more holes to go on this board.  I have to space out the drilling to avoid RSI in my hand and arm.

I’m getting a shocked reaction from a lot of people in the program about how much work I put into my art.  They are used to conceptual artists using lots of ready-mades (they buy it in a store or find it in an alley).  Ready-mades are fine if that’s part of your actual concept, but I have to say it seems lazy if it’s not.  If your idea has value, you should make sure the thing is exactly what it should be.  If I don’t know how to make something when I have an idea, I learn.

Written by Mary Corey March

January 4, 2013 at 3:40 am