Week Fifty Two

Push Gallery’s Cli•mac•ter•ic extended through this weekend

Posted in Art news, Art openings, Interview by sarahbakerhansen on 7 May 2010

If you didn’t catch PUSH Gallery’s first show – an installation by Omaha artists Tim Guthrie and Jamie Burmeister – you still have a chance. The artists are opening the show this Saturday (that’s tomorrow) from 3-5 p.m. for a second round of viewing, then it’ll come down.

The two artists created the installation as part of World Environment Arts Week. Four video projections surround a central area, and a bicycle sits in the middle of the room. As viewers ride the bike, a set of video loops changes in response to the movement. If the viewer stops pedaling, the environment floods. When things get really bad, the buildings catch on fire. Horn honking and turning the handlebars affect what happens in the space.

I checked out the show last weekend – trust me, its memorable – and asked Guthrie and Burmeister if they’d answer a few questions about the piece. They both generously agreed.

Week Fifty Two: Tell us how the idea for this project came about.

Tim: The original idea we came up with was abandoned after we got a good look at Joey’s Gallery (we thought of an outdoor piece which we still might do this summer).Jamie had the idea of using a bicycle as the controlling element and he knew I wanted to do videos.  I think Jamie first thought about having a video where we moved through space (as if riding a bike) and I asked what he thought about having the bike do something different from what a bike would normally do.  I think I had already decided I would recreate the intersection at 18th and Vinton at that point, and I thought we could simply flood the intersection, but the peddling would lower the level of the flood.

W52: How does the piece work?

Tim: Jamie figured out how to have the pedals, brakes and horn trigger interactions.  Jamie is the master…

Jamie: The controls for the piece is done through Isadora, a graphical programming program originally designed for controlling media in performance.  Triggers go through a micro controller that changes the signal to midi data.  The program responds to the midi data.

W52: When viewers honk the bike’s horn, a crazy clown pops up in the horizon. Whose idea was that?

Tim: The first thing I did was set the buildings on fire, then I started creating other videos (storms, snow, warfare) that could be overlaid on the first videos (I put masks and audio in those video files).  The intersection and the water were all created from scratch as a 3D virtual environment, and until I added things like the clown (originally a silly idea I pitched to Jamie because of the sound of the horn) and Godzilla (another silly idea when I started thinking about 18th and Vinton fighting back), most of the other videos were created from scratch using Motion dynamics.

Jamie: I will say that the ideas developed naturally through our correspondence working on the piece individually and in the space.

Tim: Yes. It was a very organic collaboration where we just bounced ideas back and forth. Very balanced progression. Jamie is a fantastic guy to collaborate with. But also, I think it all started with the bike idea. He does the coolest shit, man.

Tugboat Presents: PUSH Gallery is located at 1803 Vinton Street in Omaha.