area: Media Art
time periodNovember 2007 - November 2007
My stay at the MQ Vienna had a profound effect on me. Being able to be a guest of MQ Vienna and work with the artist group monochrom was very special and I am changed. I created a lot of projects that were fantastic, but more importantly, something inside me shifted. My ability to be an expressive artistic human opened up as if a grenade had been stuffed into my chest.
During my residency, I worked on electronic-arts projects. I built a monome, a programmable device used to interface with music programs to act as a sample trigger and sequencer as well as being able to be set up with the game of life - a cellular automata program brought into the real life on the LEDs of the controller.
My mission in life is two-fold. I seek to be creative in my life and to support others in their creativity. I am proud to have been able to teach while staying at the MQ. I gave a workshop at the nearby Metalab during the dorkbot meeting and taught 20 people how to make brain machines which are glasses with a microcontroller attached that use light and sound to interface and influence the brain waves of the wearer.
I helped put on the Zombie Flash Mob with David Fine, another artist-in-residence which involved exposing the local population to a dry run of the post apocalypse. This helped get the word out about how to protect yourself in case of a zombie emergency.
My big project that I worked on was a repstrap robot. It's a robot that can print out parts for a self-replicating, rapid-prototyping robot. To do this, I enlisted the help of over 20 local hardware and software hackers and had a fantastic time working obsessively getting the robot to come together. We soldered and drilled late into the night and drank liter upon liter of the fantastic beverage called club-mate.
We got the prototype robot to a point where we could get it moving around and printing out swizzle sticks, but when we arrived at Roboexotica, weird things started happening. The robot started moving when it shouldn't have and our commands were misinterpreted by the robot. Since the theme of the exhibition was "Ghost in the Machine," our robot fit right in. Since then, the circuit boards have been redesigned with thicker traces to make them more robust and the project is moving forward. I happy to have left the prototype with my collaborators and the project continues to move forward with their continued contributions.
Later, in December, I worked with Monochrom as a puppeteer on the wonderful steam punk epic puppet show entitled "All Tomorrow's Condensations" which utilized a Victorian-era style of puppeteering and was a feat of amazing exhibitionistic engineering.
Monochrom is a really special group of artists. They share what they know and value collaboration and have a commitment to pushing the limits of art and expression that inspired me and pushed me forward in my artistry in ways that I could not have predicted. With their tendency towards tricksterism and a willingness to engage pop and subpop culture through the expressive arts, I feel more liberated as an artist than I ever have. They are a group of artists pushing the boundaries and edges of art and they do it in a way that is very clever. Yet, even though they are playful, they engage powerful subjects and allow others to see things in new ways. Also, I can't get their songs out of my head.
While there, I also had the chance to spend time with Graffiti Research Labs, which I am happy to hear has found a new home in the MQ. Together we started a project to use cyanotypes a pinhole camera to push public art backwards in time to earliest stages of photography.
While I was there I had the chance to get some good press. I was featured in a prominent newspaper and was on Vienna television twice.
My one regret is that I spent so much time on getting to know wonderful and creative people while working on collaborative projects that I didn't get to see many of the sights of the town. I know I should be excited to return to Austria to go to the museums that I missed, but I'm really looking forward to seeing the new wonderful friends that I made and I look forward to many continued collaborative artistic projects with the wonderful people of Vienna.
I offer the deepest thanks to MQ Vienna for having me and allowing me to grow during my time there.