Friday, May 25, 2012

Shaving Cream Art Machine

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I've been doing a lot of very sincere flattery.  First of all, it's no secret that much of the inspiration for what I do comes from the guys at Free Style Arts Association.
But recently I've created a Shaving Cream Art Machine, which is a chimera of three individually awesome ideas:

1) The Exploratorium's Drawing Machine in San Francisco, which uses a four point pendulum to move paper under a static marker.

The Shaving Cream Art Machine also uses a four point pendulum to move a board, but because this ministry is highly mobile, the whole thing is made out of the same PVC pipes as the Dry Bones String Sculpture, so that it can be collapsed, transported on the subway, and reassembled without tools.  
Also, instead of using a marker, the Shaving Cream Art Machine uses a felt tip pen, but not to mark paper, to stir shaving cream.  Because the second element is:

2) Shaving Cream Marbling, which uses food coloring dripped on shaving cream and then gently stirred to create a surface upon which paper can be pressed to make prints.  I have no idea who to thank for this, but it's brilliant.

The Shaving Cream Art Machine straight up reuses this idea.  The only difference is that all the mixing occurs based on the pendulum motion of the machine.  This means that participants have less direct control over the outcome.  It also means that multiple people can participate in the creation of a piece by taking turns giving the pendulum a push in whatever direction they would like.  
But the Shaving Cream Art Machine doesn't just stop at making prints! It incorporates a third element:
    3) Free Distribution and Temporary Ownership of Art, a concept by the Italian Relational Artist, Cesare Pietroiusti, in which participants in interactive art make art to give away, often with random conditions about to whom to give the art.  
    The back of each piece of card stock on which a print is made has a suggested donation written on it.  The suggested donations are always to give the art to someone else, with parameters about to whom to give it.  Parameters vary from "give this art to someone who makes you laugh," to "give this art to a poet," to (because it's made out of shaving cream) "give this art to someone who taught you to shave."
    The result is an exercise in carefully planning which colors to use and where to place them, then letting go and watching the forces that govern the universe create something beautiful.  And in the end, you get to share the beauty with someone else.  
    Special thanks to Andy Badge for the photos and to Animamus Art Salon for organizing the event at which they were taken!


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