Exhibition Images (From Curatorial Projects) > Enigma Machine

Maggie Orth, 100 Electronic Art Years
Maggie Orth, 100 Electronic Art Years
2010

"Technology fails all too quickly, and so does technology art. Pixels die, software becomes obsolescent, hardware is no longer manufactured. Compared with the permanence of cadmium pigment and the durability of bronze, technology art is fleeting. But nothing is permanent. Even the hardest obsidian monuments will someday be ground to dust. And if all art, and indeed all life fails eventually, the short lifetime of technology art becomes more than a liability. It becomes an opportunity to accelerate and explore the ephemeral nature of art and existence. The question for technology art then is not if or when will it fail, but how and with what result? “100 Electronic Art Years” is an evolving color-change textile. It combines hand-woven fabric, conductive yarns, thermochromic or heat sensitive ink, and programmed drive electronics. When a viewer presses the button, the piece performs and the ink changes color, transforming from dark and muted to bright and saturated. Different programs create different brightly colored patterns on the surface of the textile. Each pattern is a programmed performance in time. After the piece performs, the ink slowly returns to its original dark state. But with each button press, the ink becomes more and more damaged and fails to fully return to its dark state. Eventually, the bright colors are permanently burned into the surface of the piece. Because only some of the color change areas are turned on for each pattern, the final work is never entirely revealed until all the color change areas are permanently “on”. The piece then becomes a static physical record of software, electronic layout, textile design, and time." ---Maggie Orth