Electric Lab

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 was 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 was inspired by and dedicated to the scientist Nicola Tesla, who desired free access of electricity for all.

The exhibition included projects from 21 international artists:

Jamie Allen built an archaic hand-cranked generator through which visitors can supply power to other works in the exhibition.

The artist collective Bruce High Quality Foundation built 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 explored the psychological relationships we form with machines.

Collaborators Melissa Dubbin and Aaron S. Davidson’s fabricated a neon sign that illuminates the rivalry between Tesla and Edison.

Arthur Elsenaar and Remko Scha studied the mechanisms of human facial expression in the seriesElectric Eigen Portraits.

Erik Guzman’s sculptures used light and motion to covey the kinetic energy of a celestial eclipse.

Flash Light explored renewable energy with a solar powered tin can candle.

With their interactive sculptural synthesizer, Lighter Than Air and Easier to Carry, the artist duo LoVidallowed electrical signals from participants’ bodies to fuse with synthesized signals, controlling audio and video generated by the installation.

Brendan McGillicuddy used a Van der Graaf machine and taxidermy to creates a portal into an improbable 19th century diorama.

Bryan Mesenbourg uses found objects to create an interactive installation that forced the audience to reevaluate their tactical experience with electricity.

The sculptures of Arnaldo Morales exposed the raw and visceral attributes of an electrical current.

Marco Roso’s window installation Hangover was a fog-filled space that pulsates with a strobe light, referencing the electric haze of the 1990s Raver scene.

Simon Schiessl reflected on the current global energy crisis with a fallen power tower constructed of fluorescent light tubes.

Gregory Shakar’s Magnitudes of Tempered Consonance was an installation that allowed participants to perform tuned “lightning” through audible, musically tempered electrical flames.

Luke Stettner turned a gallery wall into an electrical receptor that physically drew visitors into an otherwise empty space.

Hap Tivey contrasted the work of Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla through a LED portrait that drew from both the AC and DC electronic grid.

Seth Weiner‘s installations explored natural phenomena of electricity through experiments in the creation of St Elmo’s Fire and investigations into the application of electronic muscle stimulation for the reanimation of meat.

Revel Woodard created an electric love seat based on the Victorian “tet-a -tet” chair.

In addition to the artists’ completed, installed works, an on-site electric laboratory provided an opportunity for artists to collaborate and create new electric-based projects.

EVENTS AT EXIT ART

The ubiquitous presence of audio amplification in Electric Lab referenced the drastic effect the advent of electricity had on the human relationship to sound and audiovisuals. Electric Lab was shown in conjunction with three evenings of music, performance, and an ongoing film series.

Thursday, October 11th, 9-11pm: Koen Holtkamp, Queens, and Corridors will perform their minimal electro-acoustic music

Thursday, October 18th, 9-Midnight: A night of electricity-inspired music featuring the DJs Crunc Tesla, Prince Language and Brennan Green.

Thursday, October 25th, 8-10pm: Live performances by LoVid and Jamie Allen.

FILM PROGRAM

Since its advent, electricity has metaphorically and physically illuminated mankind. The Electric Labfilm program cast a critical glance into the history of electricity with five films that explored its aesthetic, scientific and sociological relevance. One film was played each day over the course of the exhibition from September 20 to November 17.

CURATORS

Jeanette Ingberman

Papo Colo

ARTISTS

Jamie Allen, Bruce High Quality Foundation, Kelly Dobson, Aaron S. Davidson, Melissa Dubbin, Arthur Elsenaar, Flash Light, Erik Guzman, LoVid, Jeff Matney, Brendan McGillicuddy, Bryan Mesenbourg, Arnaldo Morales, Marco Roso, Remko Scha, Simon Schiessl, Gregory Shakar, Luke Stettner, Hap Tivey, Seth Weiner, Revel Woodard

CURATORIAL TEXT

La electricidad es movimiento, su reciclaje, el cambio,

Su fuerza es una acción que no conoce su origen.

Sin friccíon, su poder se desvanece,

Y su iluminaciones son devoradas por lo oscuro.

La electricidad es el testigo del espacio, que va contando el tiempo.

Que ocupa el cuerpo y su distancia,

De impulso a impulso lo eléctrico abraza la historia.

La fuerza invisible que multiplica,

Y nos regala el conocimiento y la autoridad para descubrinos mas…

fabrica el alma

La electricidad es La chispa que descubrimos para nuestra comodidad.

Tan natural que la damos por descontado.

se convierte en rutina en nuestra civilizacíon en movimiento,

Mas rápida que la luz, la electricidad siempre brilla.

Asi empieza su revelacíon y conocemos su contenido

Y la informacíon de lo que nos hace movernos.

La electricidad es , lo que explica los sentidos.

Y el motivo visceral de lo que sueñas,

sin electricidad el Corazón se paraliza,

el cuerpo pierde su espirítu.

te conviertes en átomo eléctrico,

y paseas impaciente entre nuestras vidas,

Sin voz , haciendo toda clases de señales,

Insistiendo que quieres vivir nuevamente,

Para volver a ser parte del voltaje.

Que circunferencia nuestro mistisismo,

Creando neutrones virgenes

Para cuando vuelvas la proxima vez

Nunca el mismo y sin final

Voltiando y revolotiando

En el centro de este mundo.