Certainty Shelter, Radioactive decay driven works:
In one room with three large digital projections, a central pedestal holds three Geiger counters with their probes pointed at what appears, at first glance, to be an innocuous glass vase. That vessel however is made of Vaseline glass, also known as uranium glass, which glows with UV fluorescence. The glaze used on Vaseline glass is a mild beta emitter that naturally decays and releases fast-moving electrons and positrons. Each of the three Geiger Counters detect the charged particles and sends a unique signal to a computer, which responds by generating the speed, color, placement, and transitions in the three projections. Unlike work that uses random number sequences, which are not 100% random, these works harnesses uranium's decay to create "perfect randomness". The use of randomness, the aleatory (from the Latin to roll dice), and chance elements or sources has a long history in art. From the Lascaux cave drawings where the forms of the animals seem to result from the rock formations to Alexander Cozens and his "New Method" of random blots to Strindberg, the Surrealists, Duchamp and Cage, the relation of the artist to the random has moved from suggestion and inspiration to a kind of anti-esthetic. There are roughly three models of randomness as part of the artistic process: suggestion, inspiration, and subversion. Common to all however is that the random is a strategy to circumvent our normal controls and frames of reference. It is a cipher for nature itself both as a generative and as a destructive force, in other words, the sublime.
The time between ticks of the Geiger counter is the wholly unknown that makes up the fabric of the universe. It is the emptiness and unknowability of the machine. The computer translates that sublime unpredictability into a new sublime of information by taking the truly random intervals and making them true random numbers. Confronting the fact that no tick interval can be predicted is like accepting the reality of a vacuum: it exposed the limits of language and imagination.
» Exhibit at CANADA :: » shown info
» Randomness In Art, paper given at ZKM, 11-08
Online demonstrations of works:
Digital work, executable file, Geiger counter, Vaseline glass source, analog-digital converter, computer Non-repeating forms in color and light responding to radioactive decay interpreted by the software. A miasmic cloud of light forms and reforms as a low hum drones. All aspects, color, shape, sound and timing are a response to the perfect randomness detected by the Geiger counter, creating an aurora borealis out of decay.
Digital work, executable file, Geiger counter, Vaseline glass source, analog-digital converter, computer Non-repeating forms in color and light responding to radioactive decay interpreted by the software. The Dance of Perfect Randomness uses a news photo of Iranian artists performing at the celebration of the enrichment of uranium in 2007 as its base. This image of beatific admiration for the definitive symbol of 20th and 21st century power, technology and terror reminds us of a similar cultural response in post-WWII America. The piece uses the photo's color and imagery but frees the doves to respond to the signals sent by Geiger counter, creating a series of endless unique images that evokes religious painting. For every tick, which signals a particle of radioactive decay, a bird is released.
Digital work, executable file, Geiger counter, Vaseline glass source, analog-digital converter, computer Non-repeating forms in color and light responding to radioactive decay interpreted by the software. Based directly on Barnett Newman's "Vir Heroicus Sublimis" (1950-51), Barney's Next Step Without Canvas dynamically forms digital versions of the iconic abstract painting. Barnett Newman's concern with the sublimity of time and the effect of the red as it washes over the observer is re-literalized while the artist introduces a new version of the sublime, the absolute and ineluctable randomness produced by the decay of uranium.
Digital work, executable file, JPEGS, Random repeating images of right and left eyes of artist, 0-infinty A cascade of alternating photos of the artist's right eye and left eye blend into each other as they liquefy and drip off the screen. This intimate waterfall plays on the colloquial phrase "has a good-eye" while at the same time refers to the myopia and astigmatism that affects the artist's "bad" eye.