Experiments In Motion Blog

The Curator's Blog

9/22/2014
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Domestic Erosion: Reading the Energy of Everyday Objects

English artist Tim Taylor investigates new ways to understand the banal objects in our daily lives as a way to expose their hidden or overlooked features and meanings. In “Domestic Erosion,” Taylor takes three familiar devices from the domestic sphere—a hair dryer, iron, and tea kettle—and allows them to take on a life of their own as energetic objects. After plugging in the devices, Taylor places them, respectively, in front of, on, and under a massive block of ice and films the interaction. In a sense, the objects “create” the artwork: their generic factory setting dictate the form and outcome of the piece. Taylor’s work not only highlights the hidden energy of our everyday objects, but proposes ways in which we might question our accepted understanding of their function and logic. 

 
9/19/2014

For What It’s Worth: Dillon Marsh Shows Big Mines and Their Precious Yields

For his exhibition For What It’s Worth, artist Dillon Marsh combined photography with CGI elements as a way to visualize the output of a mine. Marsh looked specifically at the mines of South Africa, juxtaposing these landscapes with spherical scale models of the material extracted. Above, the artist inserts a copper sphere in the empty pit of Jubilee Mine in Concordia, where 6,500 tonnes of the material were extracted between 1971 and 1973. By visualizing the landscapes of mines, which represent a colossal scale of geologic extraction, with their surprisingly limited yields, Marsh allows the viewer to instantly grasp the relationship between what we produce and how we produce it.  “Whether they are active or long dormant,” Marsh notes, “mines speak of a combination of sacrifice and gain.” Ultimately, however, the images seem to suggest that the sacrifices may outweigh the gains.

 
9/18/2014
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FLIR One, an Infrared Camera for the iPhone, Allows You to See the World (and Your Dog Relieving Itself) with Heat Vision

Wired just posted a review of the newly released FLIR One, an an infrared (IR) camera that fits onto your iPhone 5/5s and adds heat vision. With it, users can see in the dark Predator-style by detecting the heat radiation emitted by objects or pinpoint previously hidden areas of unusually high thermal energy. Like drones, thermographic imaging technology has made leaps and bounds in recent years, moving from purely military applications to civilian use. Equipped with dual cameras, the FLIR One takes both IR and visible light images, combining the two to form the final image. As Richard Baguley points out in Wired, the IR camera is much lower in resolution (80 x 60 pixels) than the visible-light one (640 x 480 pixels), so the dual camera approach produces an image that looks sharper than the pure IR image. Now, along with identifying camouflaged humans in the rainforest and finding overheated circuits, we can use thermal imaging for useful applications like filming our dog going to the bathroom. Who knew so much energy lay in so many unexpected places?

 
9/17/2014
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Tele-Present Water Simulates a Spot in the Pacific from Halfway Around the World

Artist David Bowen is known for his kinetic sculptures that are driven by real-world data from natural phenomenon. For his work “Tele-Present Water,” first exhibited at the National Museum in Wroclaw, Poland, Bowen pulled real-time wave intensity and frequency data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) buoy station 46246 (49°59’7″ N 145°5’20″ W) located in the remote Shumagin Islands of Alaska. This information was scaled and transferred to a mechanical grid structure, resulting in an uncanny live simulation of the movement of water from halfway around the world. The piece, along with Bowen’s other works, speaks to the way technology and telecommunications can both alienate us from and unite us with the natural world. While technology has enabled us to control and model phenomena with unprecedented precision, it may also provide a means to understand the world in a more intimate, visceral way. 

 
9/11/2014

Coal Runs America: West Virginia Senate Candidate’s TV Ad Sends a Strong Message

West Virginia Secretary of State and U.S. Senate nominee Natalie Tennant recently launched a bold TV ad portraying her as an independent leader who will buck her party and “stand up to President Obama” to fight for West Virginia coal jobs. Making energy the centerpiece of her campaign, Tennant states “You and I know it’s our hard-working West Virginia coal miners that power America.” As Tennant makes makes clear in the spot, coal is not just a significant energy source, but a “way of life”: a culture and identity that opposing political leaders threaten to destroy. Over shots of power lines leading back to a coal-fired power plant in West Virginia, Tennant asks “Where do they think their electricity comes from?” In the ad’s final moments, Tennant is shown shutting off a switch in a West Virginia coal plant which apparently leads directly to the nation’s capital. Just before the White House is seen going dark, Tennant says “I’ll make sure President Obama gets the message.”

 
9/9/2014

Hyperlapse of the Supermoon over Los Angeles

The TimeLAX project, started by video-making duo RandyFX and RandyGM, is a growing archive of timelapse photography of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. In a recent video made for the project, the so-called “supermoon” from August 10, 2014, can be seen rising eerily over the electrified cityscape. A supermoon occurs when a full moon or a new moon is at the point of its elliptal orbit when it is closest to Earth, resulting in a super-sized appearance. According to NASA, the moon appears 14% larger and 30% brighter than it does when farthest from the Earth. Though supermoons have been associated with increased risk of events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, there is no scientific evidence to back up this claim. Incidentally, the next and closest supermoon of the year will be tonight, September 9, 2014, so remember to keep an eye out.

 
9/8/2014
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Wim Wender’s Pina: The Surreal Beauty of Site-Specific Dance

Pina Bausch was a German contemporary dance performer and choreographer known for her unique style, a blend of movement, sound, and prominent stage sets, and her elaborate collaboration with performers during the development of a piece. Now known as Tanztheater, the style became a leading influence in the field of modern dance from the 1970s on. Director Wim Wenders documented Bausch and the dance company she created, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, in his 2011 film Pina, which showed dancers performing not only inside the theater, but in locations around Bausch’s home city of Wuppertal, Germany. The production is particularly moving in the way it juxtaposes Bausch’s choreography with the famous industrial landscapes of the Wupper valley, placing the massive scale of geologic transformations against the intimate scale of human dancers. Among other locations, performers can be seen on the platform of the Wuppertal Schwebebahn elevated railway; the Zeche Zollverein coal mine industrial complex; the brown landscape of an open-faced coal pit; and SANAA’s airy concrete Zollverein School of Management and Design

 
9/5/2014
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Caught in Motion: Shinichi Maruyama’s Nude Time-Lapses

Japanese photographer Shinichi Maruyama is known for the way he captures and expands moments in time. For his “Nude” series, he re-imagined the traditional nude as a portrait also of movement and human vitality. The resulting images abstract the human body into swirling vortexes of skin, sweeping patterns that offer the viewer an alternative view of what it means to capture the energy and form of the body. 

 
8/29/2014
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Found Typologies: Bernd and Hilla Becher’s Photographs of Industrial Architecture

German conceptual artists Bernhard “Bernd” Becher and Hilla Becher, who worked together as a collaborative duo, are perhaps best known for their extensive series of photographic images of industrial buildings and structures. The images were often organized in grids according to a particular “typology,” such as water towers, grain elevators, coke ovens, and warehouses. In displaying what might typically be considered “banal” or lacking in design, the Becher’s elevated industrial architecture to subject worthy of formal aesthetic and artistic consideration. The photographs also bring light to an architectural ecosystem based on the production and transformation of energy that is paradoxically both hidden and ubiquitous. The Bechers would go on to influence generations of documentary photographers and artists as the founders of what has come to be known as the ‘Becher school.’

 
8/29/2014
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Found Typologies: Bernd and Hilla Becher’s Photographs of Industrial Architecture

German conceptual artists Bernhard “Bernd” Becher and Hilla Becher, who worked together as a collaborative duo, are perhaps best known for their extensive series of photographic images of industrial buildings and structures. The images were often organized in grids according to a particular “typology,” such as water towers, grain elevators, coke ovens, and warehouses. In displaying what might typically be considered “banal” or lacking in design, the Becher’s elevated industrial architecture to subject worthy of formal aesthetic and artistic consideration. The photographs also bring light to an architectural ecosystem based on the production and transformation of energy that is paradoxically both hidden and ubiquitous. The Bechers would go on to influence generations of documentary photographers and artists as the founders of what has come to be known as the ‘Becher school.’

 
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About

This blog chronicles the project from the perspective of the curators. Be sure to follow the individual studio blogs for studio-specific updates, and the student blogs to follow individual's work.

Christopher Barley

Independent curator and partner in the firm Therrien Barley.

Troy Conrad Therrien

Partner in the firm Therrien Barley, and Chief Architect, Cloud Communication Software at Columbia GSAPP.

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