Pixilerations Plays with our Wired World
A crowd formed in RISD's Sol Koffler Graduate Student Gallery to inspect a playful installation by Sophia Sobers MFA 13 DM.
wall be breathing?” wondered the small crowd in RISD’s Sol Koffler Graduate Student Gallery. They were standing around a pillar
swathed in white, ruffled cloth. It wasn’t exactly on the move, but it
certainly wasn’t still.
As it turns
out, the playful installation by Sophia Sobers MFA 13 DM uses stepper motors rigged beneath the fabric to create the eerily
lifelike illusion. Breathing Columnis just one of many multimedia
pieces unveiled at last Thursday’s opening reception of Pixilerations [v.9], the annual arts fringe festival sponsored
by nonprofit FirstWorks. Through October 21, visitors
to the show at RISD can get an additional eyeful of digital media at the Cohen
Gallery in Brown University’s Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, along with spaces sprinkled
throughout downtown Providence.
by students in the Digital + Media program are no less energetic. Chinese
artist Di Tang MFA 13 DM created The Dance of Roger Williams, a mechanical
marionette that moves without the traditional aid of a hand. Instead, it whirs in
response to a “city soundtrack of Providence,” which he recorded while making
the daily trek from his apartment to school. Viewers were also dazzled by a
looping video shot by Sandor Bodo, a
staff photographer at the Providence Journal. It projects images of people riding elevators in
cities such as Paris, Budapest and Milan.
of Pixilerations is to show really exciting
works – what’s new in media art,” says FirstWorks founder and executive
director Kathleen Pletcher.
turnout for the opening was no surprise. In fact, ever since the show was born
nine years ago in abandoned storefronts nestled in downtown Providence, organizers
have witnessed an increasing hunger for multimedia from the general public. “There
is an appetite for this,” says Pletcher, noting that the rise of
technology and social media has fueled this trend.
Pletcher’s point, headlining artist Miwa
Matreyek – known for mesmerizing works that integrate animation,
live performance and video installation –performed last Friday in a crowded Granoff
Center auditorium. And for the first time this year, organizers had no need to
do a call for submissions to the show. “We’ve gotten interest from hundreds of
artists across the world,” explains Peter
Bramante, managing director of FirstWorks.
already planning next year’s show [v.10], noting that FirstWorks will most
likely organize a related symposium. No matter how much Pixilerations continues to grow, however, she says it will remain
true to the FirstWorks mission of connecting diverse, inquisitive audiences to
the magic and wonder of art.
“Our audience is a combination of people who are in the media arts
world and those interested in discovering new things,” Pletcher says. “I hope
[the show] will encourage conversations and connections.” –Abigail Crocker
· Sol Koffler Graduate Student Gallery
, Digital + Media