Last week the exhibition Eppur Si Muove opened in MUDAM museum, Luxemburg. Lots of good stuff in there. The exhibition is a combination of historical scientific and technical artefacts from Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris and contemporary artworks related to similar techniques and science. Until February 2016.
The exhibition features many excellent works, including Tinguely’s Fata Morgana, Eliasson’s Trust Compass, Kowalski’s Arc en Ciel, Stelarc’s Third Hand and many more. My own Smartbot has been uncrated for living another segment of its limited existence on one square metre.
True Compass, Olafur Eliasson 2013
Arc en Ciel, Piotr Kowalski, 1992
Job le Renard Electronique, Albert Ducrocq 1950
Third Hand, Stelarc, 1980
Fata Morgana, Jean Tinguely, 1985
Smartbot in Eppur Si Muove
The MUDAM commissioned me and a team of artists, engineers and business students from Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France, to develop a robot guide for Eppur Si Muove. Guido the Robot Guide started its visits the day after the opening. There is a fair bit of work to be done before it can take over the human guides (phew) but Guido is popular with visitors, especially young ones. It talks about a selection of artworks and inventions from a robotic perspective, only in French for the moment. Two engineering students are working on Guido’s navigation and telepresence until end August.
Field HQ in MUDAM, July 2015
Engineering students Mehdi Romain and 2 Guidos
How many laptops does it take to program a Guido?
Fine-Art student Alix, Nao motions expert
Guido’s first visit
Patrick Hénaff, main collaborator on project Guido
I just found out today that Chris Burden died on 10th May, aged 69.
Infamous for deliberately shocking masochistic performances in the 1970s, he went on to make great sculptures and installations. Among my favourites is Big Wheel (1979). Combining a 1.7 tons steel flywheel and a small italian motorcyle, it evokes weight, energy, transport, risk in a spectacular kinetic-static performance sculpture. The simplicity of means, the scale, the engineering and the danger are typical of Burden’s best work unique impact.
On Sunday 26th October I was in the Victoria and Albert Museum Art Studio in London with three other artists (Jonathan Kemp, Madaleine Trigg, Dani Ploeger) improvising with a large pile of electronic waste.
The day will concluded with a presentation of the work in progress and discussion with cultural theorists Neil Maycroft and Toby Miller.
I spent a week near Alès in the south of France, sharing tricks with the multi-talented William Brossard, founder of Artimachines. We started building a hybrid cuckoo clock using various techniques ranging from walnut tree sanding to Raspberry pi programming. The coucou bird is working nicely, coming out of a circular door designed by William. The clock runs on a Raspberry Pi fitted with an Adafruit PiTFT monitor. The bird and door are controlled by an Arduino Uno and a L298 motor controller.
I am thinking of changing the display as the PiTFT display is dim in daylight and when seen at an angle.
While in Manchester I took the opportunity to visit my friends from the Owl Project in their studio round the back of Piccadilly Station. Anthony Hall, Simon Whitemore and Steve Symons have scored a large space split in two sections: one dedicated to (mostly) wood fabrication, with a CNC router and some more traditional cutting tools, the other for brain work, electronics and small scale projects.
The space contains several of Owl Project’s FLOW installation instruments. FLOW was commissioned by Cultural Olympiads fund in 2012, and installed on the Tyne River in Newcastle UK for several months. Mounted on a specially designed floating platform, a water wheel activated several beautifully crafted wood and electronics instruments that analysed water samples and generated sound accordingly.
I also saw a few solar-powered iLogs (if you want to make one, there is an iLog workshop coming soon) and current work on various synths, sequencers and light spectrometers. The Owl project are currently developing new work during a residency in Manchester Museum.