Is Interactive Art Actually Art?

 

I am writing this piece in response to a recent article on Glasstire.com. For those of you who are not aware of obscure websites that offer information and critique on the Texas art scene, Glasstire offers information and reviews of art openings, galleries, museums, and events within and adjacent to Texas.

The article, titled “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Meow Wolf,” is a scathing critique on the world of interactive art, focusing on Meow Wolf in particular, but extending itself to include Burning Man, festivals, and art fairs. The argument, essentially, is that Meow Wolf in particular, and interactive art in general, is not Art with a capital A, and that such installations are merely entertainment: “It’s fine. It works. It’s not art.” Continue reading “Is Interactive Art Actually Art?”

A Few Words on TouchDesigner

TouchDesigner is an extremely powerful and versatile tool for media and interactive art. I was introduced to this program by Tavia Morra, and got my first lessons in it from a workshop done by Daniel Schaeffer. More and more, I find myself gravitating towards making my interactive projects with it, particularly since it allows for just about any kind of trigger, and you can control huge numbers of LEDs via Artnet. Theoretically, you can control over 5.5 million LEDs via Artnet!
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The FireFlower: Some Technical Details

So last post I gave a bit of an overview of how the FireFlower worked. Today, we’ll go into a little more depth about how it was made. Newsflash – I am terrible about documenting the things I work on, and so I will endeavor to do that better on future projects! The code for the two Arduinos will be posted to GitHub presently, and I will link them in an update soon, I promise!
Continue reading “The FireFlower: Some Technical Details”

The FireFlower

The FireFlower represents my second fully self-designed interactive art project. It incorporates LEDs, color theory, propane flame effects, and an interactive puzzle game to trigger the effects. The project is made of steel and wood, uses a 30 gallon air compressor tank as a vapor accumulator, and is driven by two arduinos and a custom microprocessor. It debuted at Burning Flipside in 2016, and made an appearance at Burning Man the same year.
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The Quacken: Overview

This thing was so much fun to work on! This was easily the most technologically advanced project I have had a hand in. Animations and effect triggering were handled on a laptop using TouchDesigner, with code developed by Tavia Morra and myself, and animations primarily designed by Tavia. Effects were triggered by a game called “Duck Duck Boosh” created by Tim Alexander. The flame effect physical layer was built by Tim, and the LED physical layer was built by me. Continue reading “The Quacken: Overview”

Altared Space: Construction

Pictured above is the Sketchup drawing of the project. Obviously, a lot of identical repeating elements, which for a project like this translates to “easy to build.” I think all told, it took about 3 hours to make the model in Sketchup. From there, the file was sent to a friend who does vector work, and the pieces that needed to be cut and engraved were rebuilt there. Continue reading “Altared Space: Construction”