This years’ Electric Sky was a resounding success and we cannot thank everyone enough for your active participation! (For more imagery, check out our summarizing slide show or see our video).
Our primary goal with this event is to foster the community of creatives at the intersection of art and technology in the Pacific Northwest – building collaborative relationships, developing best practices, engaging in life-long learning, and inspiring new innovation. Our secondary goal is to share the art generated by the event with the public, and in particular with the small rural communities of the Skykomish River valley.
This year we organized our collaborative efforts around the “Wondering Woods” theme, exploring what if the woods could talk? What if they can sense you and respond? As a part of this effort we hosted a pre-event workshop instructing artists and tech creatives how to use sensors, and at the event we had a CNC router workshop and a project-based workshop for kids to engage with the environment and integrate sound into a group installation. We also hosted an open creativity lab to encourage emergent on-site collaboration in the style of hackathons. A total of 71 art and tech creatives attended, including 12 kids, and 40-50 visitors from the region came to our opening night party.
The Lordly Ones
The Lordly Ones Closeup
This was our third year, and thanks in large part to our grant from 4Culture, which we used to fund new projects, we observed the depths of the interdisciplinary collaborations and the quality of the art achieve a new level. Electric Sky is evolving into not only an art and tech retreat, but a new works incubator. We are very happy to report that we have been invited as a collective to return to both Lusio and Arts-a-Glow to share our Wondering Woods installation with thousands more in Seattle and Burien.
Opening Night party
Do you want to see more? Check out our summarizing slide show.
Part I shows overview of the Electric Sky event, and Part II shows the “Wondering Woods” art.
Some of the art was animated, interactive, or included sound, so we made a 2-minute video with some highlights. See our video.
Electric Sky is shaping up to be fabulous event! Find our lists of participating people and projects in the ArtsTechNW Spokin community. (Spokin is our networking tool for creative, collaborative communities.)
Call for Artists & Tech Creatives “Wondering Woods” Grant Proposals
We our focusing this years’ group collaboration around the theme “The Wondering Woods”. Help us explore the question: what if the trees could talk? What if the forest was a living, conscious, interactive being? We have small grants (200$-1000$) and free tickets to support participating creatives. If interested, please learn more about the theme and check out our application. Due date is May 1st.
Seeking Workshop Proposals
What would you like to learn? What would you like to share? If you want to propose a workshop please email shelly at totallylegitllc dot com.
Get involved! We are looking for help with our group meal, signs, promotion, reception, opening party bar, path layout, and so forth. You’ll meet great people, and active volunteers get a free ticket! please email shelly at totallylegitllc dot com to ask about how you might want to volunteer.
The Luminous Garden, originally created for Electric Sky, went on the road this summer, with appearances at Lusio in Volunteer Park and at Arts-a-Glow at Burien. Since Electric Sky is a smaller event (more of an artists’ retreat and exhibition for locals in the Sky Valley), this was a great opportunity to share the experience with a much broader audience. Thousands of people have now walked through our otherworldly garden, and by all appearances it has been very well received! Thanks to the producers of Lusio and Arts-a-Glow for the opportunity to share this work.
Flower of Power at Arts-a-Glow
Sensor Mote Swarm at Arts-a-Glow
You will also find the garden at a winter, indoor installation at the Vermillion, an art gallery and bar in Capitol Hill, in Seattle. Keep your eyes open for posts about that event in December.
Our basic framework was to provide an overarching experiential design theme “taking a walk in an otherworldly garden arboretum”, and then recruit other artists, technologists, scientists, and designers to take on aspects of that theme, playing with technologically infused, interactive and self-illuminated organic objects or sculptural garden elements.
A primary goal was to foster interdisciplinary collaboration through a larger group installation, and we feel we were quite successful. We had 19 participating projects and over 80 artists, technologists, and designers actively collaborating, learning from each other and creating inspiring works. It was very well received by locals in Skykomish at Electric Sky, and later enjoyed by thousands when installed later in the summer at Lusio (Volunteer Park) and Arts-a-Glow (Burien).
We are very excited to show off a list of projects already in the works, many of them recipients of our Luminous Garden microgrant program! If you are interested in collaborating on any of the projects below, please sign up for the discussion on our Facebook group or reach out to any of the artists below. If you have your own project you want listed here, please contact shelly <at> totallylegitllc <dot> com.
About the Artists/Technologists
Sunflower of Symmetry with Bryan Ressler
Sunflower of Symmetry will be a single large sunflower wherein the middle (seed) area of the sunflower is comprised of a 1-foot circular disc of surface-mounted LEDs behind a diffuser, surrounded by handmade LDPE flower petals. The flower will be held up by a stalk from a weighted base. A hidden computer will project symmetric animations onto the sunflower that respond (either by sound or proximity) to the presence of a viewer.
About Bryan: I am an electronic artist and musician. I concentrate on art pieces that make use of computer-controlled LEDs to challenge viewer’s concepts of light, shadow, motion, and the viewer’s integral, interactive role in the artistic process. Learn more at ttp://www.anthrolume.com Collaborate! I could use some help sourcing parts for the diffuser material, the stalk that holds up the flower, and a weighted base. You can get in touch with Bryan at bressler <at> pallium <dot> com.
Lighter than Air with Briar Bates
A night time swing that emits layers of colored light.
About Briar: Most of my art uses nature in its composition. It is an exciting challenge to work technology in to my pieces. Learn more at http://briarbates.com/ Collaborate! Seeking someone who might want to get teckie on me. help me think of something I haven’t come up with because I didn’t know such things were possible. You can get in touch with Briar at BriarBates <at> gmail <dot> com.
Interactive Beanstalk Joel Walters
Imagine tree bongo drums around a green cylindrical fabric “beanstalk” that grows when the drums are struck rapidly, and shrinks over the period of several seconds when interaction ceases.
About Joel: Joel works on websites by day, but also has a strong passion for tinkering with electronics. Give him some tools, a weekend, and a project, and he will run with it to the finish line. Learn more at http://joelwalters.com/about/ Collaborate! Seeking people with lighting experience, or working with outdoor fabrics. You can get in touch with Joel firstname.lastname@example.org jtwalters <at> gmail <dot> com
Bee Wilkerson Solar Sunflower
A 500 watt solar generator in the form of a flower with actuated petals.
About Bee: More Engineer than artist. More geek than girl. I love the future! Learn more at http://littlebee.github.io/solar-sunflower/ Collaborate! We’ll take everyone and find some way to make use of you! We could really use people with the following skills: welding, rigging, mechanical engineering, Arduino programming – light and display mode and pixel LED animation, wood or metal working skills to build utility / battery & electronics housing. email@example.com Contact Bee at bee.wilkerson <at> ymail <dot> com
Thunderhead Nicole Kistler and Catherine Grisez
Thunderhead is an artificial cloud made of recycled plastic bottles that hangs overhead, a thunder and lighting-like episode is created within the cloud using led lights and tiny speakers.
About Nicole and Catherine: Nicole is a public artist and storyteller who works in a wide-variety of media from lighting to cast iron. Catherine is a fine metals artist and jeweler who sometimes gets a wild hair and builds a community-driven public art piece. Learn more at www.nicolekistler.com, catherinegrisez.com Collaborate! Seeking someone that could help us sequence the led lights, and put the speakers on a timer would be great. Contact Nicole at nk <at> nicolekistler <dot> com
Anemone Tentacle David Hull
A Sea Anemone is a fascinating and beautiful creature. The way they frequent tidal pools, beaches and docks makes them seem more like a plant than an animal, but they create delight and surprise when they shy away from the curious touch of a human observer. Thisinteractive kinetic sculpture emulates the arms of sea Anemone, with large sculptural “tentacles” that react to the proximity of a viewer by curling/contracting and changing color. This project will be constructed of thin flexible steel armatures, a translucent “skin” material, motors, LED lights, and electronic sensors.
About Dave: David grew up in Seattle, received his bachelor’s degree in industrial design from Western Washington University (WWU) and his MFA degree in designed objects from the school of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). His portfolio of work includes a variety of consumer products, sculptural experiments that explore methods of construction, and interactive electronic art. Learn more at http://Davidhulldesign.comCollaborate! Seeking fabrication assistance and/or some help with coding Arduino Microcontrollers to achieve the best interaction with the object(s). Contact Dave at davidhulldesign <at> gmail <dot> com
Popup Arcade Seth Vincent, Luke Swart, and Christina Montilla
Hidden throughout a garden are small, strange terminals. They’re making noise and lights are flashing. They seem to respond to your movement. They have buttons and if you press them strange things happen. There’s text on the screen. Is someone on the other side of this thing?
Twilights Beanne HullSconces with painted shades that change when the light is turned on.
About Beanne: Beanne is a designer, teacher, artist and co-ordinator of art classes and group projects. Learn more at http://beannehull.com/ Collaborate! Seeking new ways to combine low tech light diffusers (lamp shades!) with new technologies and energy efficient light sources. Contact Beanne at beannehull <at> gmail <dot> com
The Sensor Mote Swarm with Shelly Farnham
A swarm of geometric, alien critters (“motes”) will respond in lighting and sound to your presence. The swarm will have coordinated animation using bluetooth comunication between the swarm motes and a central microprocessor.
About Shelly: Shelly is an artist and a technologist with a passion for interactive lighting and large scale collaborations. Learn more at http://shellydianefarnham.com/ Collaborate! Seeking help brainstorming design of the motes, printing out mote design using 2D cutter, assembling the motes, some soldering. You can get in touch with Shelly at shelly <at> totallylegitllc <dot> com.
Pixel River Rocks Ben Flaster
River rocks as LED pixels will provide a visual plot of the current intensity of the river. The concept is multiple instances of a circuit, each instance being a mill wheel driving a motor. This motor will generate a voltage that, based on the speed of the wheel and size of the voltage, will cause an LED to illuminate in a specific color from blue to green to white. This project was conceived at last years’ Electric Sky when people were playing in the river.
About Ben: en is trained as a mechanical engineer, with a passion for sculptural installations both large and small, and is currently a member of several collaborative art groups including the Iron Monkeys and Recreational Light and Magic, a Totally Legit LLC. After spending a decade in automotive LED lighting he is looking to apply his skill sets to make technically creative LED lamps. Learn more at www.ironmonkeyarts.org, recreationallightandmagic.com Collaborate! Seeking help with Cast molding, acrylics, waterproofing. . You can get in touch with Ben at flastron <at> gmail <dot> com
Bamboo Lanterns Lea Willingham
Inspired by a fictional, Asian, post apocalyptic world, combined with the the lighting used at the traditional Japanese bamboo festival, this project is is comprised of numerous uniquely designed and implemented, battery powered, LED lit lanterns. The lighting will be somewhat functional but the intention is aesthetic.
About Lea: While photography is Lea’s main creative medium, she has a number of artistic outlets throughout her life; from drawing, writing, and photography to creating beautiful and functional artworks with metal. One of the driving forces behind her work is the desire to create items that have a useful minimalistic quality as well as pieces that have a timeless content. Collaborate! Seeking new design ideas, woodworking experience, anyone interested in LEDs. You can get in touch with Lea at masqueeste <at> gmail <dot> com
Kids are Such Pests Carey Christie, Wilder Christie, Jeff Larson, and Workshop PestsEver notice how adults are always telling kids to “go away,” or “be quiet”? When you’re a kid, you just can’t help bugging everyone around you. Maybe because it’s fun!!! So, while the grown ups are building an art garden with light-up technology, we kids are going to create a bunch of garden pests that have never even existed before! Simple technologies like tiny recorders and LED lights in sculptures and costumes will be used to make the most fantastic kinds of insects you can possibly imagine.
About Carey Christie & crew: Carey Christie is a creative community catalyst, having spent the past thirteen years in Seattle building culture and community through event and film production, organizational consulting, volunteer management, and mentoring. Jeffrey Larson is a Seattle-based designer, illustrator, and artist. He received a BFA in design from Michigan State University before transplanting to the Northwest. See http://slowercase.com. He is also the lead artist/designer for the Luminous Garden design framework. Collaborate! Seeking kids and adults who think like kids to join us in our pest making fun. You can get in touch with Carey Christie firstname.lastname@example.org.
Luminous Garden Design Framework Jeff Larson, Shelly Farnham, and their Recreational Light and Magic crew
Jeff, Shelly, and their Totally Legit art group are providing the basic design framework, infrastructure, and lighting (including the basic narrative, the path layout, the entry gate, and the interpretive placards), and then recruiting other individuals or art groups to take on specific aspects of the installation. Their unique interactive technology contribution is the construction of the entry gate — a Portal — with responsive lighting and sound that fluctuate to indicate the entry and exit of participants, and the number of people who are inside the garden.
About Jeff, Shelly, and the crew: Jeffrey Larson is a Seattle-based designer, illustrator, and artist. He received a BFA in design from Michigan State University before transplanting to the Northwest. He is the lead artist/designer for the Luminous Garden design framework. Shelly Farnham is an artist, technologist, and community organizer with a pronounce passion for interactive lighting in art. She is the creative director for the luminous garden. Their art group, Recreational Light and Magic, a Totally Legit LLC, are an interdisciplinary group of artists, technologists, designers, and builders who share a passion for art, technology, and culture. Learn more at http://slowercase.com, http://shellydianefarnham.com; http://RecreationalLightandMagic.com. Collaborate! Seeking people to help create the portal, the interpretive signs, and the garden path. You can get in touch with Jeff at nasacar <at> gmail <dot> com, and shelly <at> totallylegitllc <dot> com
It was an amazing event, thanks so much to the 70+ people who joined the fun at Electric Sky! Our creativity lab was a madhouse of electronics, laptops, arduinos, LEDs, lasers, 3D printers, etc., mixed in with the more traditional array of arts & crafts supplies. The weather was beautiful and extremely hot, so folks were excited to intersperse their art & tech “projecting” with relaxing moments splashing around in the river, and people were working into the wee hours of the morning in the creativity lab.
As a community event it would not have been possible without everyone’s help, including set up, take down, the workshop organizers, the logo and web design, the group meal, clean up, etc..– so thanks so much to everyone, including the Town of Skykomish for letting us use their beautiful ball park, and the Totally Legit art group for letting us use their electronics/crafts supplies!
Josh and Chris’ 3D printer workshop generated a lot of interest — for those interested Josh posted his notes in our public Facebook page, find them here.
Chris D’Annunzio, one of our 3D printer workshop organizers, will be bringing his mobile water printer to Electric Sky, so we can write messages on the road while driving around the ball park! Mobile, as in on a car… he sent a few pics of the project in action:
Bryan Ressler’s (see Anthrolume, his project blog) most recent wearable LED creation is his trenchcoat, which has 1000 LEDs on it. He’ll be bringing it to work on some animations, but also to show it off!