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Archive for the ‘Emmet Byrne, Design Director, Walker Art Center’ Category

Material World

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Target’s South Tower lights up with a new project by Jim Campbell, creator of last year’s spectacular Scattered Light installation. 

Swing Hall, Swing All

Friday, March 30th, 2012

The solitary sensation of swinging takes on a new dimension in Keetra Dean Dixon’s collective, high in the sky, swing installation in the skywalk on the MCAD campus. For a full, even swing, all swingers must be in sync. Out of pace swinging results in playful collision.

 Keetra Dean Dixon

Keetra Dean Dixon, an MCAD alumna with a BFA in design, teaches full time at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, Maryland. Her 2D, 3D, and experimental projects have gained notoriety for their friendly, sincere absurdism. Her objects and installations aim to involve the viewer as an active participant. The pieces create or exemplify heightened emotional moments and often rely on context or unique interactions to complete the work’s narrative.

The Kuramoto Model (1000 Fireflies)

Friday, March 30th, 2012

The Kuramoto Model (1000 Fireflies) will distribute 1000 interactive blinking LED devices to bicyclists who attend Northern Spark 2012. The devices are outfitted with microcontrollers and radio units that allow them to mutually and observably synchronize with others, as do certain species of firefly. In isolation these devices look similar to conventional LED cycling safety lights, but in groups they exhibit an immediately noticeable phenomenon. To maximize the visual impact for all festival attendees, organizers will encourage participating cyclists to gather together in a large group to tour various festival sites.

This project owes much to the research of Yoshiki Kuramoto, who in 1975 first articulated a mathematical model that describes why, how, and when large systems of similar oscillators (things that cycle automatically and repeatedly) can mutually synchronize, without any single coordinating force or leader. With Kuramoto’s legacy (as well as the earlier work of Norbert Wiener and Art Winfree) as a starting point, 1000 Fireflies aims to activate and transform the social networks and urban dynamics associated with cycling by fusing this existing system with one biased toward synchronization. Grafting this artificial system of synchronized blinking lights onto a real-world urban transportation system does two things: first, it calls attention to the individual act of cycling as a component of a larger dynamic system with its own unique patterns and qualities, and second, it momentarily transforms that system through a subtle but pointed intervention in urban social space.

The Kuramoto Model (1000 Fireflies) is documented and published on a project blog. The software and hardware implementation details are published under an open-source license, allowing others to reproduce the designs or use them for new projects. Through an open process and significant outreach, organizers receive input and participation from members of the Minneapolis/St. Paul cycling community.

How can I get one?

A limited supply of Kuramoto lights will be available free of charge at the beginning of the festival at the two Info Tents near the Stone Arch Bridge and the Info Tables at these partner sites: American Swedish Institute, Midtown Greenway Coalition, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and the Weisman Art Museum.

Avoid waiting in line and guarantee yourself a light by making a pledge of $10 to the project’s Kickstarter campaign by June 1. Kickstarter supporters are invited to pick up their “fireflies” prior to the festival at this event:

Saturday, June 2
Pre-Spark Bridge Lighting
7-10 pm
Mill Ruins Park, 103 Portland Ave, Minneapolis
Pick up your reserved light and watch us “flip the switch” at dusk on this year’s signature artwork, THINK AND WONDER, WONDER AND THINK on the Stone Arch Bridge.

Kickstarter supporters who don’t pick up their lights prior to June 9 must retrieve them at the Information Tent at Fifth Avenue SE on the night of the festival.

Ride with all of the Kuramoto Lights

On June 9 meet in Father Hennepin Park at 11:45 pm for an midnight ride across the Stone Arch Bridge with all the Kuramoto lights.

The Ride Before the Ride

Want to join the blinking mass in a ride leading up to the Stone Arch ride? Nice Ride staff will be leading a group ride departing from The Walker at 10:30 pm. The group will then progress to Loring Park, stop at Hennepin and 4th Street, and then continue on to Father Hennepin Park to arrive at the Stone Arch Bridge by 11:30. If you can’t make it to the 10:30 departure, feel free to meet the group at any of the stops along the way! They will be stationed at Loring Park until 10:45, and Hennepin and 4th until 11:15.

Don’t have a Kuramoto light yet? Have no fear! The Nice Ride ride leader will have about 25 lights to give out along the way. Join in early if you want to grab one!

David Rueter

A former software engineer, David Rueter holds a BA in politics from Oberlin College and is an MFA candidate in art and technology studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Sleepers Awake

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Inspired by the tall tales of ghostly creatures inhabiting the ruins of the lower landing of the Stone Arch Bridge, Sleepers Awake transforms a crumbling arch into the lair of one of these luminescent beings rumored to inhabit the area . . . but never before seen.

Created by the artists at PUNY as a site-specific user-responsive piece, Sleepers Awake combines animation, action script, flash, sound analysis, and night vision camera to create the illusion of a living creature responding to the environment. Put simply: jump up and down, wave your arms, yell and scream at the creature, see him respond, have fun and smile.

PUNY is an artist-driven, interactive studio based in Minneapolis and Los Angeles. Best known for its animation on the Nickelodeon show Yo Gabba Gabba, PUNY has brought its unique amalgamation of substance and style to film, television, and Fortune 100 companies. From 2009 until 2011, PUNY operated the Pink Hobo Geek Art Gallery, voted “Minneapolis’s Best Art Gallery” by L’etoile and Metro Magazine. PUNY now produces The HUGE PUNY Show, an interactive variety experience combining live comedy, video, and animation.

For Sleepers Awake, PUNY assembles a right-meets-left-brain trust of four of its creative professionals:

Shad Petosky:

PUNY cofounder and creative director. Formerly of Big Time Attic, Shad produced graphic novels ranging in topics from space to paleontology for publishers such as Simon & Schuster and the U.S. government. With PUNY, he specializes in storytelling, ideation, and media experiences, and he has produced TV pilots for Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, IFC, and Fox, as well as animation for the films Super and Big Miracle.

Yuichiro Tanabe:

A graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a BFA in interactive media, Yui grew up in Ecuador with a Japanese family and attended an American high school. His truly multicultural upbringing sparked an interest in using visual communications to create engaging moments that can be experienced by all different types of people. At PUNY, he cultivates that passion as a multimedia artist, animator, and interactive designer.

Vincent Stall:

The design director and cofounder of PUNY, Vincent did stints as a visiting artist at Miami Ad School and Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Under the name King Mini (his boutique design studio), he published the beloved book Robot Investigator and the misunderstood book Everyone Takes a Turn. His rock and roll posters have graced the pages of Sonic: Visuals of Music, Meathaus, Rosetta, and Beast as well as music venues and transit kiosks everywhere.

Joseph Beuckman:

Having DJ’ed the world over while earning degrees in computer science and physics, Joe is an object in motion. He has designed interactive classroom software and played the organ at NHL games. He is an accomplished computer artist and cofounder of the art collective Beige. He brings to PUNY his expertise as a Game Physics, Datavis, and CMS specialist. He is also half of Minneapolis’s premier glockenspiel duo, New Kids on the Glock.

letting go

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

HOTTEA is the tag name of artist Eric Rieger, a critically acclaimed installation artist and designer who creates street art with skeins of yarn in the Twin Cities and internationally. For Northern Spark, HOTTEA employs yarn and recycled materials on an installation project that will add colorful warmth to Target Park and complement Palace of Wonder, the community project undertaken by Patty Mitchell and Robert Lockheed. Come by to see what they’ve done! Stand back to see it all, or move up close and get lost in the details.

Eric Rieger

Eric Rieger (HOTTEA) is a well-known street artist. His stunning typographical installations are both beautifully elaborate and simple. His works have been displayed by invitation throughout the United States and internationally, with recent exhibitions in London, Berlin, and Poland. HOTTEA has exhibited at Minneapolis Future Presence Gallery and HAUS Salon, and he contributed to a series of European television commercials for a Converse shoes campaign. He was invited to design and execute his work prominently at the 2012 Minnesota State Fair, and in 2013 he will exhibit new work with a solo show at the Burnet Art Gallery in downtown Minneapolis. He received his BFA in graphic design from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Explorations on Non-Intention

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Inspired by John Cage’s aleatory experiments in musical, written, and visual composition, MCBA hosts a night of printmaking, sound installation, and performance.

Printmaking: Roll of the Dice

Artist: Monica Edwards Larson
Location: Letterpress studio, Open Book (downstairs)

Join Monica Edwards Larson of Sister Black Press and a team of experienced letterpress printers in making a multilayer print using wood and metal type, found objects, and other alternative letterpress techniques in MCBA’s letterpress studio.

Matrixes may be predetermined, but their order is not. Roll our set of “aleatory dice” and let chance determine what, where, how, and which way you print your paper. Once your chance operation is complete, digitally document your print in MCBA’s bindery. All completed operations documented will be uploaded and projected in MCBA’s front windows for everyone’s pleasure—with popcorn included!

Sound Installation: Moveable Sound Type

Artist: Jonathan Zorn
Location: MCBA gallery and studios

Experience a new sound installation by composer Jonathan Zorn that features captured sounds from MCBA’s environment: the hums, clicks, clanks, splashes, and rumbles of artists at work and equipment in use. Through sampling, layering, and processing, sounds will be recombined and synthesized through a specially created computer program, constructing a kaleidoscope of ambient textures— continuously sounding, never the same. The primary installation will be in MCBA’s gallery, but smaller offshoot experiences may be found throughout MCBA’s studios.

Event Scores: Actions for All Times and Places (for Alison Knowles)

Artist: Jonathan Zorn
Location: MCBA gallery

Originating in John Cage’s famous 1957–59 Experimental Composition classes at the New School for Social Research in New York, event scores became a mainstay of the avant-garde Fluxus movement, providing direction to audience members for the creation of a short art performance. By elevating simple or mundane everyday actions to the level of a public performance, event scores invite reconsideration of the relationship between what is art and what is not art. For Northern Spark, Jonathan Zorn has composed a series of these performative event scores and invites visitors to MCBA’s gallery to collect a set and stage their own impromptu performance at MCBA (or anywhere else) during the festival.

All About Owls

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Get in touch with your night owl. Explore the different owls found in Minnesota and their role in the environment. Participants learn the three key features of all raptors and why they are different from other birds. We discuss the positive and negative impact of humans on our environment. Finally, we learn about the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota and its important work in protecting raptors and the world we share.

Established in 1974 as part of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, the Raptor Center rehabilitates more than 700 sick and injured raptors each year, while identifying emerging environmental issues related to raptor health and populations. An internationally renowned education facility, the Raptor Center trains veterinary students and veterinarians from around the world to become future leaders in raptor medicine and conservation, and also reaches more than 200,000 people annually through its unique public education programs and events.

Presented by the Weisman Art Museum and the Raptor Center


Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

21% is a site-specific sound installation that invites Northern Spark participants to influence a sound collage in collaboration with the trees they walk among and other visitors to the park. As people enter the dedicated area of Target Park, an exchange begins to take place—invisible, silent, ethereal. We are colluding with the plant life around us. Leaves absorb the noxious gases we expel (carbon dioxide), transforming them into energy for themselves while excreting oxygen—and, in turn, supporting all aerobic life.  

21% is the proportion of oxygen present in every human inhalation of air that materializes this exchange. Carbon dioxide for oxygen, breath for energy, life for life: 21% calls attention to the delicate balance we humans maintain with plants.

The largest extinction event ever known to this planet occurred 2.5 billion years ago, when oxygen entered the earth’s atmosphere. All anaerobic life on earth was wiped out as the stage was set for human existence. Now another gas, carbon dioxide, is growing increasingly concentrated in the atmosphere, posing a threat to some and presumably a promise for other life forms. As our atmosphere continues to transform, 21% uses sound to remind us of our interdependence with the plants around us.

Sensors among the trees activate with the presence of people. Lights beckon visitors to enter the space. As they do, the lights dim and sound emerges, attempting to lure more people to join this exchange of breath. As the space fills with people, the sounds grow stronger. When the environment reaches the perfect balance of people and leaves (the ideal exchange of O2 and CO2), the soundscape becomes enveloping and celebratory. If people overrun the space, the soundscape grows repulsive in an attempt to expel people from the space and return balance to the environment. Additional sensors are affected by movement—by humans, animals, or leaves blowing in the wind. These sensors activate rhythms and sounds that layer on top of the sound collage, adding elements of sonic movement and chance over time.

Dan Scofield

Dan Scofield is an artist, musician, and filmmaker based in Brooklyn who blurs the boundary between sight and sound. He formed the acclaimed avant jazz quartet SHOT x SHOT and has toured the world in numerous musical ensembles. He is a graduate student in the Interactive Telecommunications program at New York University.

Miriam Simun

Miriam Simun designs interactive experiences. Her work explores new possibilities for interacting with our machines, our environment, and each other. She has exhibited and lectured at Postmasters Gallery, New Museum, CUNY Graduate Center, New
York University, Concordia University, and Conflux Festival. She speaks Russian and designs creative disruptions at