Artists explore the potential and history of electricity
Jamie Allen, The Bruce High Quality Foundation, Kelly Dobson, Melissa Dubbin and Aaron S. Davidson, Arthur Elsenaar and Remko Scha, Erik Guzman, Flash Light, LoVid, Brendan McGillicuddy, Bryan Mesenbourg, Arnaldo Morales, Marco Roso, Simon Schiessl, Gregory Shakar, Luke Stettner, Hap Tivey, Seth Weiner, Revel Woodard
Electricity is one of life’s most fundamental forces; it courses through our bodies and powers our computers. Today, the shortage and high cost of electricity is a pressing issue. The rethinking of energy production and consumption is imperative as we face depleted natural resources, environmental damage, and exponential population growth.
Electric Lab is dedicated to experimentation and art-making practices within the ranges of electricity. Artists were asked to suggest new ways to access electricity and explore its power. This exhibition is inspired by and dedicated to the scientist Nicola Tesla, who desired free access to electricity for all. During the course of this exhibition, Exit Art will be transformed into an electric laboratory in which artists will work everyday on individual, public-interactive and collaborative projects.
The exhibition includes projects from 21 international artists: Jamie Allen builds an archaic hand-cranked generator through which visitors can supply power to other works in the exhibition. The artist collective Bruce High Quality Foundation will build a quarter sized scale model of the BP filling station located adjacent to Exit Art. Powered by lemons and limes, the replica hints at the ironies associated with BP’s green rebranded image. Kelly Dobson’s kinetic sculptural works explore the psychological relationships we form with machines. Collaborators Melissa Dubbin and Aaron S. Davidson fabricate a neon sign that illuminates the rivalry between Tesla and Edison. Arthur Elsenaar and Remko Scha study the mechanisms of human facial expression in the series Electric Eigen Portraits. Erik Guzman’s sculptures use light and motion to covey the kinetic energy of a celestial eclipse. Flash Light explores renewable energy with a solar powered tin can candle.
In their interactive sculpture, Lighter Than Air and Easier to Carry, the artist duo LoVid use the body’s electrical signals to modify pitch tones. Brendan McGillicuddy combines a Van der Graaf machine and taxidermy to create a portal into an improbable 19th century diorama. Bryan Mesenbourg uses found objects to create an interactive installation that forces the audience to reevaluate their tactical experience with electricity. The sculptures of Arnaldo Morales expose the raw and visceral attributes of an electrical current. Marco Roso’s window installation Hangover is a fog-filled space that pulsates with a strobe light, referencing the electric haze of the 90’s Rave scene.
Simon Schiessl reflects on the current global energy crisis with a fallen power tower constructed of fluorescent light tubes. Gregory Shakar’s Magnitudes of Tempered Consonance is an installation that allows participants to perform tuned “lightning” through audible, musically tempered electrical flames. Luke Stettner turns a gallery wall into an electrical receptor that physically draws visitors into an otherwise empty space. Hap Tivey contrasts the work of Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla through a LED portrait that draws from both the AC and DC electronic grid. Seth Weiner’s installations explore the natural phenomena of electricity through experiments in the creation of St. Elmo’s Fire and the application of electronic muscle stimulation for the reanimation of meat. Revel Woodard creates an electric love seat based on the Victorian “tete-a-tete” chair.