Wow, it’s been about five weeks since I blogged! That’s got to be a new record for laziness.
After we returned to Taos from Burning Man we only stayed put for about two-and-a-half weeks before heading off to Europe. During that time Christina held her national Women's Welding Workshop, during which she taught seven women from all over the country how to weld and blacksmith. I was a guest speaker and presented a lecture on Kinetic Sculpture in general and on my own work in particular. Other than that, I applied for a loan to finance the building of the shop, which was rejected, and got generally depressed and aimless.
But luckily, Europe beckoned. We first spent two days in Amsterdam; one day to bicycle around the city and another to check out the well-known robotics festival Robo-Dock
. Friends of ours have participated in this event in the past and we wanted to see what all the fuss was about. We will probably put together a proposal for next year with our friend Doyle. The first picture up there is of the Dead Chickens
' installation, which was probably my favorite piece there. This sculpture plays music, albeit a rather noisy, percussive type of music.
After a flight on a Croatian Airlines turboprop we arrived in Zagreb. The event we were to participate in was called Device Art
, organized by an incredibly motivated group of four young entrepreneurs calling themselves Kontejner
. Almost immediately we set to work unloading the container, which miraculously DID NOT fall off the ship and land on the bottom of the ocean! Four artists, including Christina and me, brought art over in the container. The other two, Kal Spelletich
and Ryan Doyle, and their crews, arrived later than we, so I got the honor of directing an all-Croatian crew of guys to help unload the container!
Next up on our first full day in Zagreb was to bring all the gallery-scale art we'd shipped over to a gallery space for an opening the following evening. After much difficulty finding a transformer suitable to operate our 110 volt art, the installation was complete! The third picture shows Christina posing in front of her "Nine Beating Hearts" piece, with my "Our Little Family" and "Impatience" to the right. The remainder of the gallery art was supplied by mostly Croatian, Slovenian, and Serbian artists. By and large, it was very impressive, and, in contrast to most American artists I've come across, the European artists present at the opening were eager to talk about the conceptual and intellectual underpinnings of their work at length.
The other venue, where we would execute most of the fire and robotic performances, was an old factory called Močvara, which means "swamp". Between performing there was a lot of drinking and posing for pictures; in the sixth picture Christina can be seen posing with (from L to R) Jay Broemmel, Kal's right-hand-man, Douglas Repetto, the illustrious inventor of Dorkbot
, Ryan Doyle, and his gal Heather. (Kal was probably off somewhere chatting up a Croatian lovely!) Christina also finally got to experience Kal's FireShower, something she'd wanted to do for a long time!
Christina and I chose Device Art as the place to premiere our new performance Amortec, in which she (on stilts) and the HD6LAW (or Highly Dangerous 6-Legged Aluminum Walker) do a choreographed dance together. Even though the piece is only six minutes long, and our performance was a bit improvisational, this was a highlight for many people, including me.
The Robochrist Industries performance, comprising the Subjugator, the Necropod, the Drunken Master, and eight pig heads, most of which were shot from the air cannon, took place on the last night of the festival. It was well-photographed, but so far the pig portrait is the only photo I've received! The theme of the show was U.S. imperialism, and several props were built to portray this theme, including various scenes from Abu Ghraib. To me, quite possibly the most interesting aspect of the perfomance was the Croatian audience's reaction to the theme, which was something like: "Why would you want to do a show about that?" Our feeling, as Americans, that this was really the only thing we could do a show about, somehow did not translate. This was the topic of 90% of the six or so interviews that I did after the show.
Finally, once it was all over, Christina and I had a chance to see Zagreb.
As you may have surmised by now, there has not been a lot of progress on our land. But that is about to change. Stay tuned.... I promise another post within a few days.