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Leonardo Reviews 155 own home movies and experimental films; on-site tours to his architectural designs (e.g. the Paimio Sanitorium, Baker Hall at MIT and the Mt. Angel Abbey Library in Oregon); and a visit to a factory to see his bentwood chairs produced. There are also brief interviews with his daughter, his second wife and a handful of associates, including architects, historians, patrons and collectors . Also mentioned are traditions that contributed to his mature design style, including Neo-Classicism, Gothic Revival, Japanese and the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art), in which, as an architect, he was responsible for the design of nearly all aspects of a building, including chairs, lamps, glassware and doorknobs. (Reprinted by permission from Ballast Quarterly Review 14, No. 4, Summer 1999.) EXHIBITIONS URGE by Chico MacMurtrie. Interactive bronze and steel sculpture, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, CA, U.S.A. Permanent installation unveiled 17 July 1999. Reviewed by Kasey Rios Asberry, 229 Judson Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94110, U.S.A. E-mail: . It was a beautiful day for robots at Yerba Buena Gardens when the 20-year-old tribe of Amorphic Robot Works’ mechanicals converged upon the site to celebrate the newly installed bronze-andsteel interactive sculpture Urge. A halfdozen conglomerates of steel wire, aquarium and surgical tubing, PVC pipe, cowhide and other no-longer identifiable remnants of other machines’ past lives gathered with their human controllers on the rooftop garden to make music out of noise, and participants out of spectators . The small robots appeared in funky contrast to their new sleek brother/sister poised on the zenith of a 12-ft earthsphere that was more spaceship than mother. This figure, which could be a member of a new species gracillus androgynous , stands erect and then crouches in a movement so quiet that some observers took a while to notice it. Arguably, successful viewing of a sculpture is an interactive process: one walks around it and receives its transmission . Urge is also interactive in the sense that it changes in relation to its observer—that is, the human figure in the sculpture mirrors, by flexing at knee and hip, the action of any observer who sits on the bench facing it. Artist MacMurtrie hopes this “universally human gesture” will be recognized by observers. The figure’s apparatus is connected to the observer through a silent pneumatic system. “Everyone wants to rise and then we have to sit, too,” MacMurtrie said amid the cacophony at the event produced by the band of human-made creatures who were triggered with MIDI-interfaced keyboards (also driven by pneumatics ). There were several varieties of drumming going on as well as what could have been some sort of pugnacious feline challenging spectators. “It’s a monkey!” announced one knowledgeable youth who had escaped its grip. The work and the playful day of its dedication provided some relief from the customary human-machine interaction that is numbingly utilitarian. It points to the paradox that while machines ostensibly exist to do human bidding and to make our lives easier, they are rarely the focus of pleasure and play, but more often the cause of some of our most frustrating moments (traffic jams, hard disk crashes, ATM foul-ups). An appreciative group of humans accepted Amorphic Robot Works’ invitation to enjoy machine whimsy at the initiation of Urge’s tenure at Yerba Buena Gardens. Later, when the crowd has subsided and the little robots are back in their warehouse, the sculpture garden will remain on my personal map of places to spend a quiet moment in San Francisco, sitting or standing. INVENTING EXPERIENCE: EXPERIMENTS IN NEW MEDIA AT INTERVAL RESEARCH The Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose, CA, U.S.A., 31 October 1998–30 April 1999. Websites: . Reviewed by Roger Malina, Leonardo/ ISAST, 425 Market Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105, U.S.A. E-mail: . The exhibit “Inventing Experience: Experiments in New Media at Interval Research ” included seven “new media experiments ” developed within Interval Research Corporation, experiments that have either been driven by artists or where art and design goals are paramount . In the words of David Liddle, Interval Research Corporation’s CEO: “Throughout history...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 155-156
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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