phare (beacon 2008)

Sculptural installation using LEDs and microcontroller
FOFA Gallery, Montreal, Canada
July 2008.

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*phare (beacon 2008)* was developed out of *beacon* that was part of my MFA thesis exhibition at Galerie Art Mur in 2006. In both iterations, a text has been programmed into a microcontroller to be output as flashing lights within an led display but here the led display has been dismantled and reduced to only 5 points now extended to the tips of the branches of *beacon* or *phare*. The branch is inserted directly into the wall and at first glance appears as a kind of deer antler hunting trophy. If the LED array was complete and arranged in a 64 point grid, the message would read to us clearly as letters scrolling across it like so many advertising displays and news lines on the metro. Here the array has been displaced, so it appears only as flashing lights at the points of the antlers, (branchler). The wires on the wall form a kind of topological drawing but also show the grid intact more of a wasteful schematic drawing of the electronics required. While the flashing lights are not readable as text they do seem a code of some sort that one is want to decipher. In the wild antlers serve as communicating devices, I imagine them here as antennae of the mechanical kind sending out a message that may not be determined. The thesis was an investigation into the role of reception in artistic practice. In both iterations the text that was sent through the controller was "i need your help". Communication engineers say that one who knew the message was being sent in English would be able to determine a letter form with only 5 points of the potential 64 point grid. i reduced the message to that minimum amount to suggest that the message delivered by a work of art could be received but its delivery would be determined by a pre-existing condition in the receiver. in *phare (beacon 2008)* the all white installation of the branch, wiring, wool fleece and walls was augmented with black walls and honey locust thorns. both "beacon" and the french word "phare" are similes to lighthouse. Like the other sculptural works of the _reverse engineering_ project, there is a nod to Virginia Woolf here. This reference is not meant as a re-telling of her tales or even homage exactly though my admiration and debt to her are both immense. Instead this is an investigation of the minimal modernist forms that she worked linguistically and i work spatially. In both our practices there is an assertion of a material and physical presence, and a multiplicity of narratives. There is also an overt femininity and melancholia, as well as a certain illegibility in the very ordinaryness of it all, or, an ascription to beauty alone. I am immensely interested in the practice of the everyday and the content potential of the decorative, the feminine, the beautiful. catulpa branch, porcelain, white beeswax, wool, LEDs, microcontroller, driver, 28 guage stranded wire.

Exhibition information

Phare (beacon 2008) was exhibited as part of *Reverse Engineering*, at FOFA Gallery, Montreal.