CTSA Mounts A Triple Artist Exhibition Of Works By Nina Waisman, Joe Mckay, And David Rokeby At The Beall Center For Art + Technology

Nina Waisman exhibition Body Envelope

IRVINE, Calif. (December 16, 2014) -- The Donald R. and Joan F. Beall Center for Art + Technology at UC Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts will mount “Play: In Three Acts” highlighting three interactive works by three artists, Nina Waisman's Body Envelope (2012 to Present), Joe McKay’s Light Wave (2013), and David Rokeby's Dark Matter (2010). Their installations explore various modes of interaction. Waisman and Rokeby incorporate sound and embodied interaction. McKay's work incorporates playful interaction with a choice to compete or cooperate to extend the play. The exhibition opens Saturday, February 7, 2015 with an Artist reception open to the public from 2:00PM -5:00PM and will be on exhibit through Saturday, May 2, 2015. 

About the Artists and their Work:

Light Wave by Joe McKay:  Light Wave is a two player video game, played on twenty-four old floor lamps instead of a screen. At either end of the long serpentine row of lamps sits a pedestal with a force sensor embedded in the top. Hitting the pedestal sends a signal through the lamps, turning them on and off in sequence. The harder the hit of the pedestal, the faster the signal travels. If the second player times their hit precisely they can return the signal back through the lamps. The rally continues until someone miss-times the hit and the game resets. Light Wave works on many levels. It is a game - easy to play yet fun and addictive. It is also an aesthetically pleasing installation. It asks us to think about old and new technologies. The installation presents us with a collection of random lamps each one unique, yet the game asks us to think of each lamp as a pixel, and see the blinking lights as an animation. The title itself invokes the dualistic nature of light, which is famously both a particle and a wave.

Joe McKay is a digital media artist that uses games and interactivity to critically examine the way our culture is consuming and creating current technology. McKay works in several different mediums, including sculpture, performance, video games, video, photo and more. McKay received a BFA from NSCAD and a MFA from UC Berkeley. McKay has an extensive exhibition history, both in New York City and internationally. He is currently represented by Pari Nadimi Gallery in Toronto. McKay is a professor of New Media at SUNY Purchase College.  For more information about the artist visit: http://www.joemckaystudio.com/

Dark Matter by David Rokeby: Dark Matter is presented in a darkened gallery space and is dominated by an invisible sculpture of silent sound. Your body probes the space listening for the sculpture's spatial form to be expressed though the sounds of your contact with its immaterial presence.

Infrared sensitive video cameras survey the darkened gallery from 4 angles. These cameras carve up the space into thousands of three dimensional zones. Selections of these zones have been attributed sound behaviors. Together, these interactive zones define a complex physical, but invisible, form in the gallery space. A computer cross-references the data from the cameras to work out which zones are experiencing the greatest physical activity at any given moment and plays the sounds linked to those zones through an 8-channel sound system, distributing the sounds through the space in relation to the locations of the physical stimuli.

The sounds are all very physical: breaking ice and breaking glass, creaking metal, falling rocks, bursts of flame. They are "painted" into the space by hand. Starting with an empty space, the artist places the sounds in the space by selecting a sound then waving his hand in a particular area to locate the sound in a particular cubic foot of space; the interactive sculpture of sound was defined in space by hand.

David Rokeby is an installation artist based in Toronto, Canada. He has been creating and exhibiting since 1982. For the first part of his career he focused on interactive pieces that directly engage the human body, or that involve artificial perception systems. In the last decade, his practice has expanded to included video, kinetic and static sculpture. His work has been performed/ exhibited in shows across Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia.  Rokeby was awarded the first BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award for Interactive Art in 2000 and the Governor General's award in Visual and Media Arts and the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica for Interactive Art in 2002. He was awarded the first Petro-Canada Award for Media Arts in 1988 and the Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction for Interactive Art (Austria) in 1991 and 1997. For more information about the artist visit: http://www.davidrokeby.com/home.html

Body Envelope by Nina Weisman: Body Envelope makes the visitor’s body a tool for tuning an extended cosmos, mapping sounds of far-flung worlds into the visitor’s peripersonal space. Sensors are suspended to sketch a delicate, amoeba-like, 3-dimensional body envelope. Some sensors respond to the slightest bodily movements, others must be reached for conscientiously. When entered and played, the piece surrounds visitors with sounds selected from wide reaches of spatio-temporal experience – animal, human, machine, cosmic, delicate, aggressive, articulate, anomic. Each visitor composes a shifting sonic space, reweaving space, time and meaning with natural movements that trigger sounds. Those sounds then change in pitch, speed, volume and spatialization, in relation to the visitor's movements. Multiple versions of the piece will be put in play in alternation for the Beall Center - repeated visits will generate very different sonic worlds.

Waisman will collaborate with professional dancers to present choreographed performances directly related to Body Envelope.  Performances will be presented at the Beall Center Opening Reception on May 7, and throughout the duration of the exhibition.

Nina Waisman produces mutli-media projects that explore how technologically-driven forms of control and communication impact the body's space, time, and logic. As a former dancer, she is particularly fascinated with the critical role that movement-based modes of thinking play in forming our thoughts - neurologists and cognitive scientists call such “physical thinking” the pre-conscious scaffolding for all human logic. Waisman's interactive installations engage visitors in everyday acts of physical thinking, which trigger sounds connected to sites and issues such as the US/Mexican border, surveillance, consumer-military feedback loops, invisible labor, urban sound’s impact on bodies, and nanotechnology. Waisman’s work asks experientially: how might technologically-inflected forms and gestures shape our relationships with the bodies and systems we connect to when we move with technology? She has exhibited in museums, galleries and public spaces nationally and internationally: venues include the California Biennial at OCMA, the Museum of Image and Sound in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the CECUT in Tijuana, the House of World Cultures in Berlin, the Zero1 Biennial and ISEA. She recently completed projects for LA><ART in Los Angeles, Casa Vecina in Mexico City, and The New Children's Museum in San Diego, where she has a climbable, interactive sound installation on exhibit through 2016. For more information about the artist visit: http://www.ninawaisman.net

About the Curator:

David Familian is the Artistic Director and Curator at the Beall Center. He began working at the Beall Center in 2005 and was appointed Artistic Director and Curator in 2009. An artist and educator, he received his BFA from California Institute of the Arts in 1979 and his MFA from UCLA in 1986. For the past twenty years Familian has taught studio art and critical theory in art schools and universities including Otis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Santa Clara University, San Francisco Art Institute and U.C. Irvine. He currently teaches the Beall Center's Digital Arts Exhibition course at U.C. Irvine's Claire Trevor School of the Arts. Although David began his career as a photographer, since 1990 new media has become integral to his own artistic practice and his work as a web producer and technical advisor for individual artists, museums and universities such as Walker Art Center, University of Minnesota and the Orange County Museum of Art.  David has curated and organized the majority of exhibitions at the Beall Center.  David developed the Black Box Projects Initiative at the Beall Center and meets regularly with artists as well as technologists and scientists to collaborate on new projects.

About the Beall Center for Art + Technology:

The Beall Center is an exhibition and research center located on the campus of the University of California, Irvine. Since its opening in 2000, the Beall Center’s exhibitions, research, and public programs have promoted new forms of creation and expression. For artists, the Beall Center serves as a proving ground — a place between the artist’s studio and the art museum — and allows them to work with new technologies in their early stages of development. For visitors, the Beall Center serves as a window to the most imaginative and creative innovations in the visual arts occurring anywhere. The Beall Center promotes new forms of creative expression by: exhibiting art that uses different forms of science and technology to engage the senses; building innovative scholarly relationships and community collaborations between artists, scientists and technologists; encouraging research and development of art forms that can affect the future; and reintroducing artistic and creative thinking into STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) integrated learning in K-12 to Higher Education.

The Beall Center’s curatorial focus presents a diverse range of innovative, world renowned artists, both national and international, who work with experimental and interactive media. Many of these artists have shown their works primarily within group exhibitions or have a limited number of solo exhibitions in the US. The Beall Center is committed to exhibiting these artists in a way that more fully expresses their individual body of work. The majority of exhibitions presented at the Beall Center include commissioned works and premiers of new works. We strive to present a direct connection between our programs and the larger trajectory of the history of video, installation art, kinetic and cybernetic sculpture. Our approach is not to exclusively emphasize the technological aspects of works, but to present experimental media projects that are equally strong aesthetically, conceptually and technically.

The Beall Center received its initial support from the Rockwell Corporation in honor of retired chairman Don Beall and his wife, Joan, the core idea being to merge their lifelong passions - business, engineering and the arts - in one place.  Today major support is generously provided by the Beall Family Foundation.

The Beall Center’s 2014-15 exhibitions are supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Beall Family Foundation, and VIZIO. The season includes two professional exhibitions that focus on artworks that explore our interactions with gaming and play.

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