Kinetica is an art show that showcases work combining science and technology, in forms such as electronics, light, time-based and kinetic mediums. It’s produced by the Kinetica Museum and for the past couple of years has been shown as P3 in Westminster University Campus at Baker Street, London.
The atmosphere for visitors entering Kinetica is quite overwhelming, in that they walk into a warm, underground, bunker space and are hit by a cacophony of sound emitting from the artworks that clank, whirr or make music. There is so much to see from artists from all around the world working in so many specialisations with all sorts of materials and reasons for doing so. The sight of kinetic art is magnificent and awe inspiring – it’s worth going just to stand back and gawp, or get in and play with the artworks. The artists are usually always on hand to demonstrate and answer the what, why and how questions. It is hot and dark and round every corner lies something eclectic, visually stunning, technically awe-inspiring or deafening!
This year I exhibited as part of the ArtHertz curators collection of contemporary artists whose work uses technology, unconventional spaces, film, DJ-ing, music or emphasizes themes such as electricity or stories to tell from ghosts of past eras. ArtHertz is run by Dennis Da Silva and co-curator, Beverley Bennett.
Here’s my modest video of the work on show on the ArtHertz stand:
I exhibited two artworks that use LilyPad Arduino sewable microcontroller technology: Twinkle Tartiflette, a stylus driven, embroidered, music making, interactive shirt and I <3 0X0, an interactive, music playing game of noughts and crosses using conductive Velcro. They both prove to be challenging in the public exhibiting environment as they’re so delicately constructed – I was able to let people have a play with both of these, but had to demonstrate how delicately their fabrics and conductive materials were first. I’m definitely on the look out for more sturdy conductive fabrics – I think this will become quite a difficult challenge to source as my work aims to prove that electronics do not have to be sharp and hard – which sometimes makes it tough to show these exhibits in such a lively and interactive show!
I also exhibited/wore some of my electroluminescent outfittery, here’s a slo-mo video of my Neon-Victoriana outfit that features in my other two Kinetica 2011 vidjos – warning: you might get sick of seeing this outfit
I was honored to be in such great company on the ArtHertz stand… Sarah Angliss’ work, Ventricle, snapped and pinched to Sarah’s heartbeat in a way that scared rather than soothed. The handbag it was fashioned from shimmering blood red material and a tempting five pound note (not placed in there by the artist) for some time tempted passers by to try to pull it out without getting their fingers bitten.
Andrew Back’s, Time for Tea, by comparison gently and stylishly informed us of when there were changes in voltage in the UK National Grid caused by peaks in usage during different times of the day, these times helpfully inform us when best to put on a brew.
Adrian Lee’s Search for Extra Terrestrial Existence (SETI) Citrus Division’ hopefully directs a laser pulsing ‘we are here’ in morse code to aliens, by the awesome power of 65 lemons. Like a sekrit project by a mad professor it projects mournfully upwards and onwards, seemingly forever.
Outside of the ArtHertz stand there were many other highlights to see. Some of these were huge, imposing and downright scary, such as the whirring, pulsating The Particle by Alex Posada which I nervously viewed incase it took off and went postal. Some tiny exhibits, beautifully made were a joy to observe such as the ferrous piece by PE Lang or the mechanical constructions inspired by nature from Tim Lewis. I could give you a long list, but it may be easier to just view my video that whizzes through some of my highlights.
There were also some great talks and performances by art legends such as Stelarc and the Musion Academy showed some of its awesome work throughout the show. Plus upstairs you could get your hands on Arduinos and other bits of kit to make synthesizers and all sorts of fun makes.