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Also known as the place I write words.

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Thesis Exhibition: Opening Reception on Tuesday, November 25th at 6:00 PM. The show will be added to and tweaked with the pedestal finally giving in and bleeding out at a Closing Reception on Thursday December 4th at 6:00 PM.

As work comes together and documentation is set in place pressure builds. Here is the progress and upcoming outcome…

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Event information and photo galleries HERE

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THANK YOU Chris and Chris of Growbotix.com for the coding help…I was a ship with no paddles for a while there!

Well the event was a success through and through. I showed up late and overworked but installed my piece without a hitch. By the time the show opened I barely had time to take a breath. People poured in from all entrances. Normally when I have shown in the past for a one night event I might interact with a few handfuls of people. Even fewer are questions that make you stop and think about a response. I was fortunate enough to have this on an immense scale in a matter of hours. The feedback loop in my systems are to me as an artist just as important as the hardware. By feedback loop I mean feedback in the human sense. A social and psychological sensor. The experience forced me to explain my ideas and choices and also allowed me insight on where this kind of work can fit in. It’s automated, loud sometimes, somewhat intimidating but can sing an enticing song if you can learn its parameters and give the system a chance. Technology?…..over and over and over…What is it? I skirted the question and tried not to label the work. The evening ended, I had my drink or three and slept, I now move forward with the battle between art and automation. Cheers! Working on Portfolio quality documentation currently…

Full screen and HD me please!

“Sirens” @ Emerge 2014 – Carnival of the future from Thad Trubakoff on Vimeo.

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In Progress…The event that I received a grant for is coming up and with a week left it looks like I might actually pull it off.

Event info HERE and HERE

Prototyping Video from Thad Trubakoff on Vimeo.

 

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Mandala-

I have always been a woodworker. Twelve years old oblivious to the fact that with every chip taken by my hand was also a letter set in type for a book on how to live my life. The religion, the process, the being…created for each other by each other and bound to each other as one.

These assignments are always fully intriguing as they are opportunities to meld personal ideology and methodology with that of existing and sometimes ancient ideology and methodology.  An interesting relationship between the pursuit of avant-garde art and the past arrises.  Is it possible?  How can one be truly innovative by using methodology and ideology of the past?  Does it even matter? Who is the judge? Questions sprang from each other like hindering weeds. Those questions marinated in my subconscious for a few weeks.

Having a prompt to create a work is something that helps in being concise. The concept becomes an integral part tied to form, function and aesthetic and ultimately leads to a more successful work. After a couple of angst filled and indecisive months spent packing my brain with Japanese art imagery something became apparent.  The buddhist mandala was a frequently occurring image. It only took a few minutes of research to realize that this was what the project needed to be.  A task towards enlightenment.

The history of the mandala is rich and varied containing deep figural and metaphorical intricacies. The intricacies are almost overwhelming to a westerner.  Making sense of the metaphorical and figural imagery contained in even the simplest mandala would require a degree on its own.   As mentioned before to answer the questions asked there needed to be a concise and simple approach. Deciding to focus on only a few mandala specific methods and ideals should lead to concise answers. Tibetan sand mandalas are created as a meditation activity in and of itself and when manifested used as a tool for meditation.  The mandala becomes fully encapsulated by the mind, the tiniest detail can be called and referenced.  Although not japanese the idea really resonated. The tool becomes the maker and the maker becomes the tool.  It comes full circle.  The creation of the work and the manifestation of that are one creating a harmonious blissful like nirvana ending suffering and giving validation to works created by such a doctrine. The process, works and creator are one and the outcome on an extrospective level may become irrelevant.  In satisfying their duties to each other in accordance with a path towards enlightenment they will never be wrong, corrupt or irrelevant in respect to one another.

I lay in bed at night thinking about the day spent in the studio before that. Visualizing process, form and functionality if the case. Contemplating decisions made and decisions to make. Realizing that some decisions are best left unforced and set aside.  As with woodworking you cannot have a forceful hand.  The wood will not be forced it is to be worked, massaged, set aside, revisited and ultimately things will just fall into place.  The point being, when problems arise in my life I should try and take a woodworking approach to problem solving.  The project became very transitive and transparent. Clarity and validation that showed me what I had been doing my whole life was more than just making sawdust and something pretty.  I was molding my being.

Starting with the center I worked outwards as instructed.  Deciding what to cast in the center is an important decision.  So I set the problem aside and absorbed myself with other works.  Stumbling upon a gyroscope video online was, to me, somewhat divine in nature.  Arising at a problem and contemplating a solution over a few weeks is different than forcing the issue.   The answer usually finds you faster than you can find it.   The gyroscope was a perfect fit for the center of what was going to be a three dimensional kinetic mandala. A tool, an instrument, used as a vessel to nurture meditation.  A gyroscope is a microcosm of universal bodies at work. The laws it obeys are the same laws the universe obeys.

After that it was a matter of designing sets of structural and aesthetic support. Using my minds eye as a drafting board a set of “gimbals” was imagined.   They are an integral part in the system. They house the precious center and keep it safe.  When outside forces are enacted upon the gimbals the gyroscope or center is allowed to make adjustments to remain in a constant centered state with regards to its axis. Aesthetic embellishments were added to the surfaces in order to provide abstracted imagery of iconic deities and to add ornamentation.

 

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Project Video in current state:

SirensPreAutomation from Thad Trubakoff on Vimeo.

“Sirens”

Designed to provide a moiré screen effect, “Sirens”  is a moving piece of wall sculpture that creates intense visual and audial effects as the opposed wheels spin.  A problem has arisen however, initially the system harnessed energy by catching cascading sand in scoops.  The system currently requires two users to lift receptacles which pours the sand over the scoops thus turning the wheels.  Although my work focuses on systems and the human viewer/user variable, in this case the human simply introduced too many variables and the effects became unpredictable and unwarranted. Simply stated; the system failed with the provided freedom to or of the individual. For success the “equation” or “system” should use concise human derived variables, such as sheer presence or perhaps the number of people engaged in “Sirens” system at any given time. It became very evident that the piece needed an automation system derived using the individual as a variable in a more concise nature.

Automation and robotics is a realm of actualization that intrigues me immensely.  As a young child I took apart everything I could get my hands on in order to understand how systems work.  Carrying or following that same method or process of thinking through my life has prepared me to apply mechanical problem solving to design and build art machines and mechanisms.  Up until recently my work harnessed the energy of a human for the system. In this there is an interesting relationship which occurs between the artist, the work, and the audience. It takes the traditional viewer of the piece and turns them into a user who receives a much more involved and sensory packed experience.  However, as stated before there are problems… Humans are huge woven balls of variables. Although we can be coerced into a false sense of control, in the end the user has all the say on what happens.  Who is to say that a user will even expend the necessary energy upon the system?… the work has failed at this point and the gallery lights might as well be off the viewer was passive and didn’t become engaged with the piece.

The project is in a static state and needs change. Microcontrollers, sensors and motors will allow me to design a system that can sense presence and then provide a desired effect based on certain parameters.  The plan, which is already underway, is to add a motion sensor or ping sensor to sense human presence.  When that variable is satisfied the overhead lights will dim, the wheels will be spun in opposing directions and a backlight will pulse in relation to wheel speed.  Some intimacy might be lost between the work and the user since there is no physical contact but it will function more like a machine and less like an open ended toy.  “Sirens” will sing a visual song drawing the user in giving an experience that tugs on many sensory levels. The piece will provide a dialogue to discuss the role of engineering and automation within a Fine Art setting. “Sirens” will beckon lasting conversation within one’s self.  What is the possibility for “the Future of Me” within Fine Arts?

My process starts by drawing in Rhinoceros. This allows me to create laser cut patterns and also allows me to create embellishment with surface treatments.  Parts are then crafted from the patterns as to create an assemblage that works as a machine. Geometry in my work is based upon the golden ratio and Euclidian curves.  This provides an inherent and natural connection of the human user to the form and intermingled function of the work. Subconsciously we recognize this proportion and derived curve as beautiful. They are the proportions that the natural world including ourselves is created from. Aesthetic, form and function should be bound and inspired by nature to create a harmonious work.  This brings up another interesting idea in that if we are all individuals is there really one true actualization of beauty.  Does this compete with or support the idea of free will?

Prototyping implements are costly and in order to put mechanical theories into place they are necessary. With the proper grant seeding further exploration and experimentation can be sought and actualized.  The leap towards art automation and a pure blend of engineering, science, humanities, design and the arts is a leap I have to take.  Current art is making a strong push in this direction and it is an exciting time to be an artist.  I am ready to jump.

 

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The sound of sand cascading over scoops draws you in.  Then the pulsating visuals from the rotating arms command you to shipwreck…the progress/process.

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A box for Mom…

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After our “Neither Here Nor There” show I had the task of preparing for my 15 hour review. Basically you sit before a committee of five, who are professors in the college, where you present your collective body of work. This can be a naturally daunting experience by the nature of the task at hand. Standing in front of professionals attempting to be concise in your explanations/justifications. They are looking for someone who can put together an excellent, cohesive and professional thesis show. The experience was very helpful in the end, it was not something to get frustrated with but an opportunity to be better. The review forced me to slow down and take a look at what I had actually done half way through my masters. More importantly it made me look at what I was actually thinking during those times. As I’ve found, and I’m fairly new to making art for arts sake, that good art, I mean really good art, has some conceptual backing. It’s not enough to just “look pretty” or “be cool”. Good art makes the hair on your neck stand up and goosebumps appear on your fore-arms. It will tug at something inside you, whether it be pathos, logos, ethos, or in the good case, all three. A good artist will persuade you into feeling.

Last night I attended a talk/panel discussion at ASU’s Grady Gammage auditorium. The panel consisted of, to name a few; Bill Nye the science guy, Brian Greene, Ira Flatow, and one of my favorite science pop stars Neil deGrasse Tyson. It was pretty incredible, these guys have some wild brains and intense methods of thinking. Even more impressive is the way in which they are able to explain/justify the, sometimes far-out, concepts they believe in. I immediately saw connections to art and science, exploring by trying to explain the unexplainable, and doing it because it evokes something on an emotional level. Neil deGrasse Tyson argued that historically science has been supported by protecting a fear of dying by arms-racing. An act of war preparation rather than an act of privatized enthusiasm. He started by talking about how William Herschel’s telescope, which was bigger than anyone else’s at the time, allowed him to make the first ever real space discovery. He found Uranus, all previous discoveries were common knowledge because they could be seen with the naked eye, “even a caveman could see them.” But he wasn’t continuing with William, he was interested in his less popular son John Herschel. John invented cyanotype and the modern blue-print, which eventually led to the invention of color photography. BOOM! Suddenly artists could stop painting portraits of rich people, a direct realist approach, and begin painting what they FEEL! He then ripped his shirt off, underneath was a Vincent Van Gogh “The Starry Night” skin tight spandex t-shirt. Van Gogh painted what he felt in order to evoke feeling and this is what we should be doing for science…The hair on my neck stood up, goosebumps appeared and I got the chills, It made perfect sense.

After the passing of your 15 hour review it is time to think about a thesis show, marking the end of your MFA journey. A right of passage or in some cases a denied right of passage. Sitting there I understood what I needed to do to make great art and put on a great show. I am to derive an experiment based concept that will drive the content of the show. Setting up an experiment with a hypothesis that may or may not become true in the end. The evidence will become the work that comes out. A concept based upon a set of rules that the equations must follow, with constants and variables that produce content. My hands become the telescope, the rules are the rules of the universe, constants become constraints, variables become my interests, the content becomes the pieces that exit the studio. The emotional drive becomes my need to find out more, explore, and be on the frontier innovatively. I am not exactly sure what my experiment looks like yet but I know of a concept. The rest shall follow…

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A while back I was approached by a good friend and amazing guy Damon Mcintyre of:www.damonmcintyre.com
He wanted to do a group collaborative installation at the ASU Night gallery here in Tempe. Of course I was on board as I knew a group he assembled could pull off an amazing show and it was born. Eric Clausen, Dannon Schroeder and my brother Jordan Trubakoff added to the team nicely. We met up, talked, and spit balled ideas off of each other. We all have unique styles but somehow an underlying idea and aesthetic came through. Dannon really pushed the concept off by building a piece using pallet wood he had been experimenting with, using it as a canvas for paintings. The rest followed suit and overall we were able to play like big kids and really put some nice stuff together. The process was mostly reactionary for me as we only prepared for the installation a few or four days before the material was brought to the gallery. In this case I knew I wanted to do a kinetic piece that required slight planning and pulleys. That in mind I started making a ton of pulleys that fit cording I had bought a while ago. I figured I’d stumble upon the rest later. Remembering the broken down slow speed sharpener, I retrofit some parts as to drive a belt made from the aforementioned cording. IT WORKED! The whole system was stapled in and around the installation.

Better pictures and videos to follow including artist interviews.