ANOTHER DIMENSION: DIGITAL ART IN MEMPHIS

July 14, 2022

I’m thrilled to share that I have a video in the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and I will be part of an artists talk there.

The Show:

ANOTHER DIMENSION: DIGITAL ART IN MEMPHIS

Through September 11, 2022

Karl Erickson, Be Almost Miraculous, 2022

About the show:
While digital art has existed since the 1960s, it has experienced increasingly mainstream interest in recent years. Due in part to our shift toward virtual environments during the Covid-19 pandemic, this rise in interest from artists to collectors has also been fueled by the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies and NFTs.

With works by Kenneth Wayne Alexander II, Karl Erickson, Coe Lapossy, Sarai Payne, and Anthony Sims, Another Dimension takes a glimpse into the emerging digital art scene in Memphis, exploring ways the digital realm opens up a new range of possibilities for artists.

The Talk:

Artists’ Talk: Art in the Digital Age

Friday, July 15 | 6 p.m. Reception |6:30 p.m. Talk
What does it mean to be an artist in our hyper-digitized world? Join exhibition artists Karl Erickson, Coe Lapossy, and Sarai Payne as they discuss how and why they engage with the digital.
The talk will also be streamed. You can register here

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Experiment with Social VR

March 02, 2022

In relation to my AFK (away from keyboard) exhibition Learn Sing Plants Counting Monsters Colors Alphabets at Rhodes College, I have been experimenting with making a web/social VR version. Please check it out here and let me know what you think. See it here.

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Learn Sing Plants Counting Monsters Colors Alphabets

February 23, 2022

Education Lessons: Blue, Digital Animation, 2021, 01:08 minutes

My new installation Learn Sing Plants Counting Monsters Colors Alphabets is on view February 11–March 11, 2022 at Clough-Hanson Gallery, Rhodes College. I’ll be giving a talk 6:00 pm on Thursday, March 3rd at Rhodes College. It will also be on Zoom at this link: https://rhodes.zoom.us/j/98119867756

And, there will be a reception on Friday, March 4th from 5:00 to 7:00 pm in Clough-Hanson Gallery in Clough Hall, Rhodes College.

About the show:

Learn Sing Plants Counting Monsters Colors Alphabets is an exhibition of experimental cartoons depicting ritualistic interactions between plants, monsters, insects, aliens, and physical manifestations of language. The works offer an absurdist take on educational programming for children, from Sesame Street to algorithmically produced content on Youtube, mixed with a heavy dose of experimental cinema and alien encounter narratives. 

Erickson’s  offbeat animations present lessons designed to challenge traditional educational objectives. The end goal is to create and learn new languages, to forge trans-species kinships, and to find new ways of being right. A segment on the letter “R” highlights the letter in the formation of a variety of words (“are,” “green,” “three”), none of which, of course, start with “R.” A bee has a transcendent experience. Extraterrestrial plants put on a song and dance show in order to communicate with Earthlings, only they don’t know any of the same words we know. The aspects of education are present: language, demonstrations, repetition, engagement, but the learning outcome is obscure.  

To create these scenarios, Erickson uses video collage, mixing together 2D and 3D animation, still and moving images, and motion design. Motion capture technologies map his movements onto digital avatars. Bioelectricity from plants shapes the audio signals Erickson incorporates into some of his videos, creating sounds that feel like language, even if it is a language we don’t understand. Erickson can be thought of as a translator between the different agencies that he is collaborating with: animations, sounds, hardware, software, plants, and electricity. There are no predefined connections, so each video requires a new system of connections to be built. This creates an interdependent networked system that is analogous to how we can work together to find a common language.

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Check Me Out On Vimeo

As I refocus on my website and plan the redesign, please check out my Vimeo site for new works.

And I am active on Instagram, too.

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Stupid Lepton Live Stream Performance

February 21, 2021

Stupid Lepton Performance

Live streaming performance as part of the Memphis Concrete event on February 19, 2021.
I performed as “Stupid Lepton” and used a modular synth connected to a plant for sound and various Signal Culture Apps for video manipulation.

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“Practice Sharing — an online presentation of expanded approaches to language-based practice within the field of artistic research.”

December 16, 2020

Excited to share that my art and writing about it is included in “Practice Sharing — an online presentation of expanded approaches to language-based practice within the field of artistic research.” Please check it out, there are scores of fantastic language focused artists and writers and musicians involved.

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Hello. How Are You? Goodbye. (New 360 immersive video)

November 10, 2020

Hello. How Are You? Goodbye.
Karl Erickson 360° digital video, 2020
2:30 minute loop

For this video, a plant was connected to a modular video and sound synthesizer. Electricity generated by the plant was amplified so that it produced changes in the a/v signals through biofeedback. This is a form of conversation between the machine and the plant facilitated, but not controlled, by humankind. I “seeded” the communication with an audio sample of the phrase “Hello. How Are You? Goodbye.” This all too familiar exchange from our online lives provided the raw material to be manipulated and deconstructed by the plant’s electricity. Each of the five screens of abstracted imagery corresponds to one of the five words in “Hello. How Are You? Goodbye.” I recorded the sound and video for each word separately and in a set of real-time performances, as if in conversation between the energy of the plant and the will of the modular synthesizer. I then composited the five video images into a 360° world in 3D animation software. I paired each of the screens with an alien figure, highlighting the vast differences between humankind and other intelligences. Here, I imagine the scenario as one in which the extraterrestrials are pondering a greeting from Earth-based plant life, translated through an agentive assemblage of machines. I put together the sound so that it is also 360°, so that when the viewer faces the corresponding screen, one of the words from the phrase “Hello. How Are You? Goodbye.” may be discernible. In all, the video functions as a set of translations, from human to plant to machine and around again.

This project was supported by a Bridging the Distance grant from the UrbanArt Commision, Memphis.

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Some News

October 26, 2020

My video Talk to Your Plants About Uplift Experiences is included in the Indie Memphis Film Festival “Aniexpialidocious (Animated Shorts)” screening. You can stream all of the fantastic animations here.
I am thrilled to be included in the Film Festival along with my colleague Trimiko Melancon, and former students Emily Burkhead and Ethan Garland. Please check out their videos as well. 

still from Talk To Your Plants About Uplift Experiences

And, my video Sibling Ascension 2: Xylocopa is included in the online exhibition “The End is Semipermeable
The virtual exhibition space is excitingly bewildering, so take some time to look around. You can get through the “membrane” at a few points around the surface, including at the top. You can read more about the show here.

Sibling Ascension 2 installation view, The End Is Semipermeable

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Which Wave “Diagonal Fractal Post-Everything

May 14, 2020

Here is the video I made for Which Wave‘s “Diagonal Fractal Post-Everything.” I used some video feedback and analog synth gear.

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We Tried to Tell You

July 14, 2019

One of my videos from my recent show with Laurie Nye “Time For Something Else” at Day & Night Projects.

The extraterrestrial intelligences turn away in frustration from humankind.

All of the videos from the show here:

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Exhibition at Day & Night Projects

From the project space:

Laurie Nye and Karl Erickson: Time for Something Else

Opening Reception: Thursday, June 20, 7–10pm
Exhibition Dates: June 20–July 27, 2019

Day & Night Projects is pleased to present two artists with works in dialogue, Laurie Nye and Karl Erickson. Their exhibition Time for Something Else features paintings, videos, and drawings which posit a visionary science- fiction existence. The artworks depict ecstatic realms for the future, and take an outsider’s view of environments of color whorls, abstracted forms, and mutating patterns.

continue…
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video for “People” by Which Wave

February 04, 2019

I’ve very excited to have made the video for the song “People” by Which Wave. It is from the debut “People E.P.” – Spotify or download EP free at http://whichwave.net. Check it out:

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How To Heal With Color

July 11, 2018

How To Heal With Color
8:15, 2018
live audio-visual performance

“How To Heal With Color” is a real-time performance mixing video and sound. The performance is an action to unite the viewer’s sense of color with the awareness of their own bodily states, leading from awareness to tension to release.

It has been performed at The Oilwick Gallery, Indianapolis, INB on June 16, 2018 as part of the Mid-West AudioVisual Artist collective.

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Flower Meditation

May 12, 2018

My wife gave me flowers for my birthday. I made this video with them.
Used: Paracosm Lumen, Signal Culture Frame Buffer and Mixer. For sound, Make Noise 0-Coast with a touch of delay and reverb.

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Autonomous Reality Communities Performance

May 07, 2018

Autonomous Reality Communities is a live video and sound performance.

It is a visual tone poem using the vocabulary of motion graphics and abstraction to posit that humankind is not the center of universe and that there are other layers of existence.
I draw the title from Gene Youngblood’s essay of the same name, in which he argues for the use of computer generated and modulated moving image art as the basis for forming new ideas and connections. I combine this with the need for empathy with the non-human. The combination of empathy and technology allows us to dismantle dominant, stagnant modes of thinking and assemble new futures.

It can be streamed into a browser or VR space via OBS. Each performance is different and done in realtime.

Video stills are below. Documentation of a past performance can be viewed here:


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Stills from Life Can Be Difficult

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