Here’s something I never expected to happen to me; I was recently the subject of an art exhibition in Vienna. Hazel Brill, the artist, wished to temporarily take me out of the context of blogging and into that of an art space, to encourage a philosophical reading of what I do.
Hazel’s original note to me a from a few months ago went something like this:
I am a fine artist from London, currently studying Transmedia arts at
the University of Applied arts in Vienna. I have become increasingly
interested in your YouTube arduino tutorials and open source projects.
On your website you say that you believe that ‘creative engineering
is indistinguishable from fine artwork’. You see engineering as art,
and I agree, I believe there to be poetry in this process. With
techno-science advancing at such pace, a place in which a bottom up
understanding, and ‘re-learning’ of how things are made is
necessary. However, as well as the creative engineering itself, I see
you as the art, and your entrepreneurship in this area conceptually
fascinating. I am contacting you because of the philosophy you herald
and the expanding online sharing subculture that you represent. In my
exhibition in Vienna, I want to temporarily take you out of the
context of blogging and into that of an art space, to encourage a
philosophical reading of what you do. […]
Readers of my blog probably already know that I find the intersection of engineering and art to be extremely fascinating, so I was naturally very excited by the concept of this collaborative piece. I gladly agreed and conducted a skype interview with Hazel. She transformed the video into the piece that was shown at her exhibition in Vienna. You can watch it here:
In explaining how the exhibit was received, Hazel had this to say:
The exhibition went really well[…], was busy, and [received] an enthusiastic reaction from peers and tutors. Many said they found it educational, and found you very intriguing; also some thought elements of it were funny. But mostly educational, and relevant, especially the sections about copyright, as it is an issue in the art world today. I think your online presence can be quite humorous and quirky, especially to people outside the context of the hacker community. I presented some of this I guess, and I also tried to show the element of voyeurism involved when viewing the tutorials, as the viewer is invited into your private spaces, where you teach. However, aside from the initial novelties, your articulation of the the open source culture that you represent, and the responsibility you take up to demystify technology, is what comes out in the interview. […] It was interesting bringing you into a different context, where people learn about you, what you do and why.
Below, you’ll find some shots from the gallery space. The stark placement of the single monitor with the video playing uniquely demands the attention of exhibition attendees. I’m humbled and honored to have worked with Hazel, and I’m thrilled that I was able to help make this art piece into a reality. I’m excited to continue watching the connected worlds of art and technology as the two continue to mix more and more.