I am an artist, roboticist, and educator living in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. I like to make performing machines and primarily work in kinetic and robotic sculpture. I was trained as an engineer and roboticist but over time have steadily moved towards fine art. This started during graduate school as informal technical consultations with artists, later evolving into my own practice, and eventually into a professional role as an IDeATe instructor at Carnegie Mellon University.
What I practice and teach is an emphasis on dynamic processes. A kinetic sculpture is a moving form made of material and software, but even more importantly is a performance unfolding in time. I am especially interested in those performances which incorporate dynamics and change, including expressive physical behavior, flexible and loose materials, mechanical decay, and generative algorithms. As subject matter these processes add chance, improvisation, and risk to a machine performance.
For several years I have been intrigued by the idea of making machines from gypsum plaster. I am drawn to the fragility since making moving parts from such a brittle material begins with a hint of absurdity. It is also a chance for me to develop my nascent skills at sculptural craft with a traditional material. Gypsum plaster is also repairable and recyclable. It is made from ancient mineral deposits but in principle can be reground, rekilned, and reused. This suits my parsimonious inclinations and environmental sensibilities. But most of all, the humility of plaster underscores my essential sculptural premise: the form exists as a vehicle for the performance.
“Jumbler” is a kinetic sculpture with a rotating plaster bowl which holds an assortment of small artifacts. The actuated bowl tumbles and jumbles the parts as it moves back and forth in a complex and varied choreography. The bowl steadily disintegrates as the objects bounce around inside, slowly filling it with dust and fragments.