The New Alberta Contemporaries!

The opening for The New Alberta Contemporaries was the other day at the Esker Foundation.  It was a spectacular event- they really pulled it all together in the end.  It was quite the opening, not only were there the 44 of us artists, curator, Esker staff, founder (Jim Hill) and guests, but there was a live band, and spectacular food.  I’ve never been to an opening quite like it.

As I managed to pull together an “animated” Morphoid, the other day, I brought it along to the opening.  Wearing my labcoat and passing around the Morphoid was an excellent way to start a conversation with people.  (I also love the lab coat for openings because the pockets are perfect for postcards and brochures, and so I’m not holding them all night, but have them when I need them.)  Most people were unsure about holding the Morphoid- some asked me if it would shock them or bite them or something.  It would, however, make noises, and/or vibrate when I rolled it into people’s hands.  Seeing the surprised looks on their faces was half of the fun of the evening.

I’m glad I pulled that together, although it wasn’t really planned- I wasn’t really intent on it.  The other day, I just felt like working on it, as I’ve been playing with it for a while. When it finally worked, I thought the timing couldn’t be better- it was meant to be.  And then I had no excuse not to bring it; I remember Caterina (the curator of The New Alberta Contemporaries) calling me audacious, and so, of course, I had to have the balls to bring it, and it actually worked throughout the whole evening.  Still working, actually, which I am finding quite amazing.

The construction is quite complicated- more than you would think.  And since I can’t solder (which I now realize may have been one of the reasons I decided not to major in jewellery), everything is taped together, and then sewn right into the Morphoid.  This sounds easy, but when you’re inserting a circuit and a motor into a stuffed thing, you can’t just throw it in there and expect it to work. The pressure of the stuffing on the motor was enough to cause it not to work.  I rigged up a system with an off balance motor, with a container to protect the “rotation,” and stuffed everything (all the electronic components, including the full breadboard, two battery packs, and motor contraption, sensor, and then another circuit with the sound chip) inside, and sewed it all up, trying to avoid disconnecting things, too much pressure, and lumps in the wrong places.  In the end, it worked, and it worked well.  I was pleased.

I met a few artists whose names I know from around- a few of us seem to run in the same circles, although apparently not at the same time.  I talked with a few more artists that I sort of know, and am looking forward to getting to know better.  I talked with a few artists I know pretty well, namely, the ACAD crowd, which was fun, as always.

Overall, a spectacular evening.  The only thing I would have changed if I could have, would have been to make it a public opening- it was disappointing to have to tell people who were interested in going that they couldn’t, because I didn’t have another ticket.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos from the evening, but I’m sure a few will show up from friends/ the Esker.  Here is a short video  about Jim Hill’s vision for the Esker Foundation.

Stay tuned for the dissection!