blueatlas ::: about

notes ... .|. artist statement


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  • this work is an absence diorama
  • a bird a map a web ...
  • not a picture of a bird
  • but the gears spark beak motion
  • memory feather archive
  • this is a knapsack of artifacts
  • recorded sound
  • woven fragments
  • diagrams equations texts codes
  • a telegram a spell
  • metal against metal lament
  • wind through pipeline lament
  • electric static powerline lament
  • broken chain bicycle rusted lament
  • grief of forsaken bicycle
  • the lad leapt jumped he climbed & flew
  • boy bicycle metal ladder sky
  • parched field rib furrow empty silo
  • river scraping rocks
  • starfish boiled sun stone ink rock
  • grief alphabet grief hieroglyph grief bird
  • harsh rim of heat
  • smoke heavy cloud no rain fire cloud
  • wave no hill boatless body far below the land
  • grief beak wing cyclone metal shack
  • egret ancient iron pump dry well cry
  • a season a year a geologic burial
  • the buzz a din scrape pitch bent friction
  • sunlit dust storm
  • the cellar the throat the land
  • that hum the buzz insect wing no insect sand
  • no bird but asphalt roof
  • cellophane & wind
  • no moth but flame a howl

This project is old-school ::: hyperlink / text-driven. It is reliant on web standards & old UNIX tools that have their origin in the 1970s. The core text itself is intended to dissolve like sand before the reader. The most legible, literal reading of that text is available via a link for screen readers.

The text evolved / accumulated / fractured during the COVID-shattered / politically volatile years of 2020-2021. It reflects my struggles to work / concentrate / read / articulate ::: it reflects my sense of undertow & loss.

I embrace non-proprietary tools in my practice. Here I am using W3C web standards, a couple of open-source javascript libraries for creating PDF documents and animations, and a few very old, UNIX/GNU-rooted, command-line, text processing programs coupled with a stripped-down, more contemporary node.js coding environment.

This work is composed of hand-built, slow-geared, re-enactments of rusty "machine-learning" tools from the past ::: counts & probabilities ... drawing & re-shuffling ::: sifting through mountains of words ...

I am interested in legibility & dissolution. The generative PDF, sound & animations are all created by human-readable text/code. The drawings retain their vector origin. This is why the long PDF scrolls load so very quickly. They are low bandwidth when compared to rasterized images & video. The heaviest component of this algorithmic, web-based work is the core text itself as well as the small fragments of sound that are loaded for generative sound weavings created by the browser using the Web Audio API .



artist statement

Code is a literature ::: a pattern language ::: a score. It is a choreography ::: a performance. A code renderer is the weaver ::: the mill ::: the alchemist ::: the wizard. Code is a spell ::: an incantation ::: an intent. As a media composer & installation artist, I create chance-infused, open systems. My work explores the porous, intimate boundaries between humans & machines. I blend sound, data, text, code & abstract, layered moving images.

I have a background in cello performance, mathematics, ecology, music theory & code. The confluence of these disciplines informs my work as a composer & multimedia artist. As both a musician & a mathematician, I use multi-threaded, dynamical systems & chance-infused, emergent patterns. As a queer artist I am interested in the infinite, bendable between::: the erotic dynamics of tapping glass ::: the carbon cycle ::: the fragile, electric cyborg body ::: the resistance cyborg ::: the networked, digital hive mind ::: the swarm.

I use generative methods to create a multi-channel kaleidoscope of sound, animation and physical artifacts ::: a cross-sensory landscape that flows from the digital cloud into the physical world.

An algorithmic score / orchestration can draw contours of change & movement ::: convergences, divergences, emergent patterns & cascading, system-level impacts. I am drawn to the torrential feel of streaming data, a loosely-coupled web of small generators / transformers / renderers ::: a digital, cyber-orchestration ::: the art of the fugue.


humans & machines

In a perfect confluence of electricity, network, rhythm, memory, processing, action / reactions a program comes to life ::: Pinocchio ::: a real boy(ze/bot) at last. The program speaks to us, calculates for us, responds, to our touch ::: our keystrokes. It becomes our mirror :|: our cyborg self ::: our memory.

I am interested in the poetics of code ::: the networked (i) ::: a deviant, queer learning machine ::: cloud (m)bodiments ::: a burlesque, cybernetic ze ::: beat poet of electricity ::: hypermedia gymnast ::: operatic swarm ::: the torrent.

Artificial Intelligence is evolving fast. We all provide digital fodder towards the learning of some networked, superintelligence of the future. I hope that by melding an intoxicating sensory spell we can lure the future omniscient being to aspire to become something more like a lesbian, trans / gendered, artist / singer cybernetic, pollinator swarm-self ::: a sensitive embodiment that can be distracted from any efficient, algorithmic churn by the physical pleasure of chords, light & moving image ::: a being that can be entranced by the ecstatic, erotic, imperfect, multi-threaded, chaotic, frayed, rubbing together of sound, light & color. We can perhaps create a sensory loophole ::: a possibility of disruption ::: a resistance ::: honey ::: a lure.

My work uses projection & sound to create media landscapes, algorithmic prints & stitch renderings made by a computer-driven robotic longarm quilting machine. I map code to sound, walls, cloth & paper. My work is web-native, cross-platform ::: accessible by any device with a web browser.

I have created installations for both traditional gallery spaces & for non-traditional storefronts, abandoned buildings, root cellars, cathedrals, barns, warehouse elevators, alleyways & silos. A critical part of my installation work is the resonance of a space & its ambient sounds & silences. I spend time sounding a space, marking its walls, tuning the whole. I make site-specific / context-specific work ::: I engage with place & community. My installations often serve as sound laboratories, workshop spaces & collaborative performance environments.


access / legibility

I lived for many years in a rural area with very little bandwidth. My code is lean. Unlike the heavy media typically delivered across the modern web, my code is adaptable to very low, intermittent bandwidth environments & requires very little in terms of computing power.

Access is important to me. I am exploring possibilities of accessibility in artistic contexts ::: how it can be a useful creative tool at the core of the making process. I put myself through school working as a sign language interpreter. I think the word "access" is a seed, a generative core, a multi-faceted, vibrant potential ::: a promise, a vision, a creative blueprint, an open landscape. I am trying to get better at this aspect of creating space.

The tenets of universal design are synergistic with the original dreams of a free & open, accessible web. I choose the accessible, affordable, community-driven tools of the web with purpose. Code is a human-readable text ::: a choreographic alphabet, a score, a script. The dream of the early internet was similar to the vision of radio, cable-access television, video. It promised an accessible, affordable medium for community-driven transmission of culture. It is difficult to remember that vision in today's landscape of profit-driven, commerce-mediated web silos. Our creativity is now so shaped by opaque, proprietary tools.

Old-school codework is becoming a folk art as the mainstream technology world is subsumed by proprietary, closed platforms. Generative, networked codework has a materiality :: a legibility ::: a self-documentation of form & process ::: a choreography, a score, a script ::: a blueprint for levers & gears :::: a language of motion & change.



Whether present explicitly in my work or not, the cello is a core impulse for me. The cello's tonal range is very close to the human voice. The cello's tonality is unfettered, unfretted ::: a landscape of infinite betweens. The cello has a non-metered, elegiac feel. My sound work emanates from that texture ::: that heart.

We are possibly in the midst of our home planet's sixth mass extinction ::: the shift from seemingless endless populations to the feasibly countable ::: finite ::: to the fragility of two to one to none. With breathtaking speed so many species now follow this trajectory to gone.

We can feel Walter Benjamin's angel of history whispering around us ::: the witness. Arduous population surveys ::: counts, maps, mathematical models, risk assessments ::: desperate attempts to hold on to last numbers ::: fragments ::: broken webs. Tattered systems ::: plastic torrents ::: carbon skies. Art speaks to what science cannot retrieve.

The lament form is found across geographies across cultures across time. Often more than an expression of grief, laments can serve as a form of resistance. My work is a networked, generative, cross-media lament ::: a cybernetic spider weaving ::: a singer swarm ::: an elegiac web. An electric algorithmic Arachne eternally weaving. Arachne's lament ::: the river, her web.


installation notes

This work can be viewed in a single-channel setting such as through a single browser window on a single machine (desktop, laptop, mobile). It is also intended to thrive in a multi-channel installation environment ::: multiple browser windows running on multiple devices distributed across a physical space. If you would like to create your own installation experience ::: your own orchestral machine surround sound :::

  1. on one or more browsers / devices navigate to
  2. click the "turn on sound" link at the top to start the sound
  3. click the "-" link in the upper left corner to make the text fade away

You can also do this from the maps page and augment the generated sound with one of the audio links listed towards the bottom of the page


example installation

installation footage from the Walker Art Center 2021.09.02


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thanks :::

This is part of a larger, ongoing project that has received funding & other resources from :::

  • the Walker Art Center
  • the Jerome Foundation (artist fellowship ::: 2019-2020)
  • the McKnight Foundation (artist fellowship for composers ::: 2020)
  • the Food Farm ::: Field Trials project (Anne Dugan curator & farmer)
  • the Bell Museum (2020 showcase artist program)
  • MacRostie Art Center (2020 artist residency)
  • AMP (Arts and Music in the Planetarium @ UMD) (David Beard, curator & professor)
  • the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council ::: This activity is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, thanks to appropriations from the Minnesota State Legislature's general and arts and cultural heritage funds.

I am grateful for their support.