The Studio of Eric Valosin

Sunday, June 28, 2015

For()Loop Meditations

Over the past year or so I've been contemplating the meditative lives of computers as I develop a new push-button prayer bead project entitled For()Loop. The installation, in its final form, will use prayer beads to digitally "meditate" on a image, changing the color of the light in the room to the color of each successive pixel of the given image. While I prototype (click here for that whole endeavor) I'm happy to have finally begun a series of supporting drawings!

This first drawing, For()Loop Meditation 0.1 (Prototype), takes the circuit diagram of one such prototype for the pushbutton/LED interface and reimagines it as a cosmological diagram. Similar to my other Meditation drawings, it culminates in a functioning QR code. When scanned, it fills the user's phone with a modulating color, in a sense replicating the functionality of the final installation. Given that the image to be meditated upon in the installation is yet undetermined, I decided to let the drawing itself decide what the pixel colors would be, randomly fading between colors.

Here are some progress shots:

I began with the circuit diagram itself...

...and reconfigured it according to the conventions of many eastern mandalas to make it a circuit diagram cum cosmological diagram:

I then overlaid that sketch onto my drawing and impressed it into the paper beneath, to create lines that would be revealed after rubbing charcoal over the page.

In the spirit of apophasis, the lines are drawn blindly, then revealed by covering them with charcoal, and then erased into to create the spaces for the QR code. Finally I added renderings of the bead prototype, as well as add a bit of color to some of the circuitry aspects (which harkens both to the colorful functionality of the QR code and to the historical symbolism of color in many mystical/occult drawings).

I'm very happy with how it turned out, and even happier to report that it sold at auction this month, to benefit the very worthy Gallery Aferro in Newark, NJ!

I'm looking forward to continuing this series of drawings, and finding a home for the final installation as it develops further!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Fourfold - Meditation 1.4

While Christine Soccio, John Spano and I embarked on our collaborative installation[link coming soon] for Fourfold, (I just threw a lot of links at you... I'll give you a second to mine them. Go ahead, I'll wait right here...) we each also began working on individual projects that would be informed by each other's practices in the spirit of the collaborative exhibition.

These two QR code mandala drawings are the result: Meditation 1.4.1 (Thusness, Elseness; Fourfold [RJP] and  Meditation 1.4.1 (Thusness, Elseness; Fourfold [SPH].

During the first half of the exhibition in Newark at Solo(s) Project House, there was also a corresponding exhibition in its sister space in New York, R.Jampol Project(s). Each drawing hung in one of the two venues and the QR code, when scanned, would take the viewer to a live feed video of the other venue. Once the second exhibition in NY closed, the QR switched to a live stream of the Newark venue, so the viewer would see a quasi-recursive live video of himself viewing a live video of himself viewing a live video of himself... you get the picture. And here's how I got to the picture: 


The imagery began with Christine's Ammann Grid, an aperiodic pattern central to a lot of her work, which has underpinnings in particle physics and quasicrystals. 

Then I masked off the floor plan of the gallery on my paper, to become the basis of the mandala structure ("Thusness" mandalas, after all, are traditionally floor plans of sacred spaces like temples, which double as architectural metaphors for the cosmos).

Then, borrowing from a technique I had developed in previous drawings in my Meditations series, I overlaid the grid onto the paper and began tracing it, impressing the lines into the page below.

That would allow me to then rub charcoal over the paper in a style reminiscent of John Spano's smoke installations, and reveal the gridlines underneath. Smoke, revealing the underlying aperiodic structure behind the cosmic diagram.

Next, borrowing from my own apophatic tool bag, I used erasure to create the QR code, masking off and erasing out the white parts of the code, pixel by pixel.

The final step was to overlay the detail work on the floor plan shape itself, technological symbolism reminiscent of my first QR mandala, Meditation 1.1

And the final product:
Meditation 1.4.1 (Thusness, Elseness; Fourfold [SPH])

 Lastly, I repeated the process for the second drawing, using the floor plan of the second venue, and a more radially asymmetrical composition, which I felt not only reinforced the floor plan of the space, but also the de-centered nature of the emerging post-modern cosmology, delivering truth through a physically and digitally bifurcated space.

The final:

Meditation 1.4.1 (Thusness, Elseness; Fourfold [RJP])

After the close of Fourfold, I'm planning to recode the QR codes to send the viewer to compiled footage of the exhibition in lieu of the live stream. It raises the interesting question of temporal, site specific work in a collection context. One of the many intriguing problems of New Media art, but, in light of the impermanence of conventional sand mandalas, perhaps a fitting one.

A Directory of the other posts about this project:


Fourfold - A Collaborative Exhibition - our first site visit and the beginnings of our concept for the show

Fourfold Collaboration - building and installing the main collaborative installation


Fourfold - Meditation 1.4 - Behind the scenes of my site specific drawings for the exhibition (You are Here)

The Threefold Fourfold, In Twofold Fivefold - Behind the scenes of my fourfold projection negation project


The Finished Fourfold: Collaboration and Multi-Site Exhibition - An overview of the finished exhibition

The Final Fourfold (Four Now...) - Images from the opening reception and other events

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Intro to New Media Art Workshop



Interested in New Media but don’t think you have the knowledge to break in? Don’t know where to start? The days of “creative coding” and “computer vision” intimidating artists are over! This New Media for Dummies style class will prove you can teach an old dog new media (young dogs welcome too)! Walk away with a working understanding of code-based artwork, and a finished project or two to prove it!
No prior programming experience necessary, but a basic understanding of computers is recommended. Bring your laptop and leave with a new medium in your tool belt!

Students should bring: 
– Laptop computer
– Webcam (if you own one) – a built-in laptop camera will work.