~e; EM work/sketches/context (ii/ii)

From brian carroll <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Thu, 31 Mar 2005 14:34:57 -0600

  i've been making more stuff and half the fun
  of it is being able to share it with others,
  and given the situation, mnartists.org and
  this list is where i am able to do that now.
  it has also been an informative experience,
  sometimes only realizing why something was
  made after the fact, and disliking it still,
  though it may be purposeful and have value-
  it still is hard to compare to works today
  that are based on a different valuation.

#1 -- Lines of Force // images and animation

  this sculpture relates to a painting by Salvador Dali
  (discovery of america) in which ship's masts and swords
  in the form of crosses look like distribution poles.
  taking it further, making a figure which is stabbing
  an actual distribution pole into (what becomes) new
  ground continues this new electrical order, or line
  of power or 'lines of force' (electromagnetic fields)
  which cover the globe today as a universal aesthetic
  order (wooden poles). that 'cyberspace' and speed-of-
  light time is inherent in this system is also part of
  this new force/field that is being actively extended,
  and the figure references a symbolic raising of flags.

#2 -- broken lightbulb // images, glows-in-dark

  the idea of archaeological artifacts such as a broken
  lightbulb found in some future century and then placed
  as a precious object in a fine-arts museum, is partly
  connected to Jasper Johns and others' works which were
  exploring these objects and making them into rarified
  artifacts by changing their materials (or this is one
  way to consider it).  while a broken lightbulb made of
  polymer clay may not directly resemble what an actual
  lightbulb may look like, it seeks the essence of one
  that may have had its glass melt over time and partly
  become stone and in other places dust, and has some
  radioactive glow connected with it (glowing clay),
  referencing the luminescent light that shattered.
  this is a 'sketch' in clay, it is not seeking to
  be real, it is not trying to be comical (though it
  may look so) yet it was made to contribute to the
  creation of a context or atmosphere of some future
  electromagnetic excavation and the artifacts yielded.
  for these edison-based screw on bulbs are rapdily
  going to disappear once LEDs take over, and may not
  be manufactured except in small quantities in a few
  places in the world, eventually.

#3 -- pseudo-EM artifacts

  these were experiments of creating an archaeological
  context by way of pseudo-artifacts, say a 'D'-cell
  battery that is broken in half and emptied of its
  contents, or a hearing aid embedded in stone whose
  plastic has turned into (terra-cotta) dust. or an
  audio adapter plug or a watch battery which looks
  like nothing at all, yet may be a memento in some
  future exhibit for 'lithium battery' circa early
  20th century, North America.  again, these are
  only sketches, including the credit card with
  magnetic strip, and are limited yet contribute to
  establishing the idea of an EM excavation and a
  general atmosphere (if put under glass with some
  kind of placard formalizing them as artifacts).

#4 -- electrical plug and cord // images

  as with the above pseudo-artifacts, this plug
  and cord sculpture in polymer clay (with wire)
  starts navigating towards the ideas explored by
  David Macauley (of How Things Work and of the
  architectural books on Castle, Mill, etc. fame.)
  one of his more imaginative works explores the
  future excavation of things like an electrical
  outlet, a barcode display, etc. and then their
  misinterpretation as being of other functions.
  more skilled hands and minds could do a lot more
  with this basic idea, though i may still try for
  a barcode or something, and this is one electrical
  plug i feel achieved a higher quality, fossilized.
  i may eventually make an electrical outlet, etc.
  though as sketches only and not as a perfected
  object meant to be a realistic aged artifact.
  i am guessing many have explored similar territory
  as a sculptor a block or two away has lightbulbs
  made of grout for sale (ref. jasper johns) and
  i'm guessing someone must have gone into face-
  plates, wires, or some extended em territory.

#5 -- fossilized electronics // images

  this is where things get fun, and really dumb,
  in my view. i made these on a whim, though after
  making them i started to wonder how they could
  be considered seriously by anyone for what they
  are, not just what they look like (sketches, yet
  to such a sketchiness that they are laughable).
  basically, electronic components have some kind
  of design with wire interacting with objects,
  at times sculptural and dynamic (coils) and at
  other times quite mundane (crystal, diode). so
  using polymer clay and wire, made a series of
  electronic components with wire and clay (and
  referencing artifacts, using stone for fossils).
  yet for all their basicness, these are the most
  important sculptures in terms of electromagnetic
  education and basic literacy because they are
  so seemingly dumb and without actual function
  that the aura of 'electronics' and 'black box'
  function (mysterious functioning, as if magic)
  can be approached in a way that is playful.
  for instance, a wire wound around a donut is
  a coil, in which electricity in one end goes
  around the object and back out the wire, and
  creates an electromagnetic field around the
  donut in the process. this is a way to explain
  the function with a stand-in form, simplifying
  this magnificent discovery and contextualizing
  it in relation to other artifacts. the color
  of the coil, the materiality, all of it is
  mono-tone, stripped out of the original, the
  details are generalized, and only the main
  themes are highlighted. therefore, a resistor,
  diode, LED, and other things can be described
  and seen in such a way. my favorite is with a
  crystal (20mhz) which if the original object
  has a sticker and writing and metal can and
  translucent orbs on the bottom by its metal
  legs, and looks like an alien artifact of a
  sort. when rendered as a sketch in polymer
  clay, in stone, rarified and generalized, it
  can be said that electricity goes into two
  of the legs, (i am assuming) and out the
  other two, and in the process vibrates the
  specific crystal 20 million times/second,
  sending out oscillations of radio waves
  as a result. this little stupid artifact
  is this fantastic electronic specimen in
  which the greatest knowledge of our day
  (wireless interent/telephony) is captured
  in an artifact otherwise invisible and
  made special by revealing itself from the
  underground/infrastructure, as part of the
  assemblage making things work today, and
  to allow people to approach these events
  in a tangible way, to learn more about it,
  that these are critical designed objects
  that are much more than their aesthetics,
  yet that too also informs things (materials
  of conductors, insulators, metal legs, etc).
  so this general idea has a lot of potential
  (imo) to address the primacy given to visual
  art versus the content of these things that
  may be ugly or insignificant compared to
  what may be designed by other criteria, yet
  which are core and central to creating the
  real, the cultural experience, understanding.

5# -- Cross-arm Distribution Poles // images

  this is one in a series. had to get this one
  out first, 22 crosses referencing the ubiquity
  of electrical distribution poles and variations
  on a theme, some of which exist in pole form
  in ways poetic (different sizing of cross-arms
  have been seen, i.e. papal cross, .ru orthodox).
  next would be letters and various alphabets or
  symbols, and early boat masts and their rigging.
  things are somewhat stuck here while a bigger
  sculpture is contemplated and soon to be unstuck,
  of a medieval ship mast cacophony of poles, wires.
  then another of a marina of distribution poles.

  brian thomas carroll: research-design-development
  architecture, education, electromagnetism

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