Fusing Technology and Art Exhibits

Art exhibits can be made out of common everyday items.

Miami artists Carrie Sieh and Alex Trimino have combined technology and sustainability with textiles to create their art, which is featured at the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Art. Their exhibition, “Reimagined Innovations in Fiber,” will be on display at the Ruth Funk Center from Jan. 23 – May 7.

Visiting the exhibit was such a peaceful experience for me. There were so many pieces that I couldn’t pick my favorite, but I could narrow it down to one per artist. The museum breaks up the pieces into three different art exhibits.

The first section contained works created by Sieh. Her artwork included boxes and tapestries that combines recycling and history. The one piece of hers that always caught my attention in this area was titled, “Content Creators and Luxuriated Bodies.” Aside from it’s sheer size, the piece caught my eye because it was made out of VHS tapes, and it included Freddie Mercury! This piece can be appreciated on many levels. There was an aspect that really brings about the co-existence of man and machines. Without man, the old textile machine would never have been created or utilized to its fullest extent. On another level, without the vocal and video recording, celebrities and their talents would not have been shared on such a large-scale as they currently are in modern society. If you go an see the piece in person, you will also see a few stray strands of VHS tape that connects the machine to the outlets on the walls, adding electricity and power into the mix of humans and machines.

Carrie Sieh 2014
Carrie Sieh 2014

What interested me most about this piece was the material that Sieh chose to use. The machine and connections to the outlet walls were made of VHS inner tape. This substance is out of date in the electronic world and toxic to the environment when improperly disposed. The tape without any modification causes very little harm, but when it starts to decompose, problems arise. There is just enough metal in the VHS tape to be classified as electronic waste. If you ever decide to dispose of old VHS tapes, make sure to do so like you would a computer, or turn it into one fantastic wall sculpture like the one currently on display.

You can only stare at Freddie Mercury for so long before you would begin to notice the glowing coming from the next room. Trimino’s “Totemic Patterns of Light” mixes technology and textiles like neon, florescent lights and crochets, or knit, fibers. The piece is 3D and you can walk between the different parts of it in this art exhibit. Be sure to look closely; it took me a few times of walking through the exhibit before I was able to find the little projector screen (that my teachers used to use in middle school) near the wall. The projector sat on the side like one of the neon exhibits, but it had a lot less flare without any textile or florescent elements. You can see it in the photo of the florescent exhibit.

Alex Trimnino Art Exhibit
Alex Trimnino 2016

The mixture of light and textiles really catches your eye, but it’s the outside elements that made this exhibit so unique. Only one of the totems has a shadow. Another has crystals dangling form it. Each totem is unique, and each signifies different roles in society. To me, this is reflective of mankind and machines and identifying the similarities of each person and each machine’s unique features and its purpose in the grand scheme of things. I also saw the projector as society’s outsiders, hiding on the edge of society, but also the creators of some of the most unique elements.

Once again, the element that surprised me the most was the materials that were used in this piece. Neon and florescence are not often seen as art. Bring them up in a typical conversation, and I would say they have more of a functional use as lighting or signs for buildings. Trimino found a way to incorporate them into one large spectacle. Neon and florescent tubing are also hazardous waste. Ironically, the reason it is classified as hazardous waste is because it contains mercury! I wonder if the artists coordinated this connection between the materials and Freddie, or if it just happened to be a coincidence.

Both artists in this exhibit bring together technology, sustainability, textiles and history in such a fashion that they were able to really express the codependency of human culture and machines. Elements from all of the pieces have some sort of relation between the two. I strongly encourage anyone who is interested to visit the Ruth Funk Center before May 7. Form some of your own opinions of these works of art. There is no right or wrong interpretation of these exhibits, and simply experience the connections Triminio and Sieh make between mankind and technology.

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