The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Presents ELECTRIFIED by Edwin van der Heide and Alexandre Burton, 4/25
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announces the opening of Electrified, an exhibition by artists Edwin van der Heideand Alexandre Burton. Two North American premiere installations-Burton's Impacts and van der Heide's Evolving Spark Network-pay homage to the pioneering work of Nikola Tesla and his experiments in electricity, x-rays, and wireless communication. On view at the Trust's Wood Street Galleries April 25-June 22, 2014, the exhibition opens during Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District, Friday, April 25, 2014, from 5:30 to 9 p.m.
Alexandre Burton's Impacts is an audiovisual installation using tesla coils-induction coils used to produce high-frequency alternating current invented by Nikola Tesla. Each tesla coil is fitted with a glass pane and suspended from the ceiling of the exhibition space. This sculptural installation is visitor-activated, as each sculptural device generates an audio and visual experience based on the visitor's proximity to it. Arcs of electricity of variable intensities as well as rhythmic articulations are generated by the impact of the electrical arc on the glass pane.
The tesla coil's ability to throw electric arcs has been employed by many artists, and Burton's use of the coil in Impacts serves as a reminder of the danger of this marvel while capturing its sublime beauty and rhythmic potential.
Edwin van der Heide's installation Evolving Spark Network consists of a grid of electric spark bridges that traverses the entire exhibition space forming a plane approximately nine feet above the floor. Visitors' movements in the installation are detected by radio frequent movement detection sensors and are used to activate the network of spark bridges to produce both light and sound. The behavior of the spark bridges acts as a form of artificial life with the physical world as input, representing a form of interaction with artificial life.
The sparks are akin to the electrical impulses by which our nerves communicate information. Just like neurons that form networks in our body, the spark bridges also form an interconnected network.
Alexandre Burton is a Québec-based composer, digital instrument maker, and researcher. His interest in technology is dedicated to creating a new sensibility specifically for digital works. Burton's work focuses on writing and the organization of relationships among various modes of expression. His works are frequently presented at international digital art and music events.