As an artist and educator, my work is largely about bridging disciplines, engaging people, and using art to create instances of awareness. More specifically, in an ecological sense I am interested in questioning our human relationship to nature. I have explored this interest in many different ways including performance events, drawings, and robotic sculptures.
The Superfund Art Project [SAP] is a unique example of how I am exploring the interconnections between art, ecology, activism, science, and engineering. This project was started in response to the ongoing remediation of the Koppers Superfund Site in Gainesville, FL. The goal of SAP is to use art and science together to engage local citizens and government in the discussion of how best to heal and transform this very toxic site. The Citizen Bio-Detector is my most recent project and will be exhibited as part of the SAP exhibit, Region4: Transformation Through Imagination. The Citizen Bio-Detector is a wearable sensor device that allows the user to test water quality and collect pH and turbidity data from local rivers and streams. The data can then be mapped with GPS coordinates and allows the user to visualize water quality and sources of pollution. SAP was recently awarded a $25,000 grant from the Florida Department of Cultural Affairs to support the Region4 exhibit.
My most recent outdoor commission is called After Trllium and it is a robotic sculpture in the form of a flower. This techno-biotic sculpture changes its form and behavior based on changes in the physical environment. For example, temperature data is used to determine how far the flower opens each day. The flower remains in a dormant stage throughout winter and as the weather warms it progressively blooms more each day until it fully opens in the heat of summer. After Trillium creates a definite visual link between its physical form and the conditions of its immediate environment. This relationship explores the interactions between machine and nature, as well as the interactions between man and nature.
As computers and artificial intelligence proliferate and become woven into all aspects of our human existence, the desire to protect the environment and promote healthy ecologies must also grow. In addition to engaging the public and creating greater awareness about these interests, I see my sculptures as a way of visualizing unseen forces and re-imagining nature.
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