Robert Breer

Float
The Floats – or floating sculptures – that Robert Breer took up producing again at the end of the 1990s, emerged in 1965. The word “float” meaning something floating – a marker, fishing float or buoy – and which also describes those carnival vehicles whose pretend wheels give them the appearance of floating above the tarmac, enabled Robert Breer to apply this principle to works of a new genre. Primary shapes, neutral colours and, for the most recent, an industrial aspect, the Floats were then made with polystyrene, foam, painted plywood, and, more latterly, out of fibreglass. At first glance, these simple structures appear immobile. In fact, they are moving, imperceptibly, within the space they inhabit. Motorised and on mini-rollers – which raise them slightly above ground, giving them an air of weightlessness – they glide unbeknown to the visitor, following random paths that are interrupted by the slightest obstacle that they encounter.

localStyle (Marlena Novak & Jay Alan Yim) in collaboration with Malcolm MacIver

Scale
‘scale’ is an interspecies art project: an audience-interactive installation that involves nocturnal electric fish from the Amazon River Basin. Twelve different species of these fish comprise a choir whose sonified electrical fields provide the source tones for an immersive audiovisual environment. The fish are housed in individual tanks configured in a custom-built sculptural arc of aluminum frames placed around a central podium. The electrical field from each fish is translated into sound, and is thus heard — unprocessed or with digital effects added, with immediate control over volume via a touchscreen panel — through a 12-channel surround sound system, and with LED arrays under each tank for visual feedback. All software is custom-designed. Audience members interact as deejays with the system. Amongst the goals of the project is our desire to foster wider public awareness of these remarkable creatures, their importance to the field of neurological research, and the fragility of their native ecosystem.The project leaders comprise visual/conceptual artist Marlena Novak, composer/sound designer Jay Alan Yim, and neural engineer Malcolm MacIver. MacIver’s research focuses on sensory processing and locomotion in electric fish and translating this research into bio-inspired technologies for sensing and underwater propulsion through advanced fish robots. Novak and Yim, collaborating as ‘localStyle’, make intermedia works that explore perceptual themes, addressing both physical and psychological thresholds in the context of behavior, society/politics, and aesthetics.

RYAN HABBYSHAW

carnival aquarium

The interactive aquarium is installed in store front windows in 6 cities across the US. Using computer vision the seascape will react to the motion of a user, seaweed will sway and fish will scatter. Users can then dial in with any mobile device and create a fish using their voice. As they connect in realtime the sounds they make are analyzed and create a dynamically generated fish. You can then enter that fish into the aquarium and use your key pad to eat various pieces of fish food that will transform and morph your fish into creatures. The application will remember the state of your fish so that when you call back later you can evolve your fish even further.