Water Rites at BlindSpot

In February I participated in the Blindspot Initiative and exhibition at Keystone Arts space in Northeast Los Angeles. This initiative was meant to explore the blurring boundaries between design, architecture and storytelling about the built and natural environment and also culminated in a series of workshops and a publication.

For Blindspot, I exhibited Water Rites with the addition of a new piece, Shrine, which adds depth to the world of Water Rites by proposing a series of shrine-like objects inspired by Greek roadside Kandylakia.

I also experimented with a new way of installing these piece. Rather then showing them as art objects I experimented with a fictitious museum display. By painting the walls and creating didactic wall text with a fake audio tour,  I presented the objects as though they were in an archeological museum.

Information about the Blindspot Initiative and related events can be found here.


Artist Talk at Fabrica

I’m thrilled to be speaking about my work at Fabrica, on Monday June 24.


Fabrica is a communications research centre, studio and school. We are based in Italy, work globally, and are an integral part of the Benetton Group. Our organisation is built for the 21st century, and designed to address 21st century problems and opportunities. Our advantage is our diversity – of people, perspectives, formats and technologies.

Italo Calvino

Six Memos for the New Millennium

6. The Critical Engineer expands 'machine' to describe interrelationships encompassing devices, bodies, agents, forces and networks.

The Critical Engineering Manifesto, from the The Critical Engineering Working Group. Written by Julian Oliver, Gordan Savičić, Danja Vasiliev.

SPECULATIVE writeup on The Drunken Boat #16

The Drunken Boat, an online art journal has posted a summary of our 2011 LACE exhibition in Issue #16. The feature includes highlights of the work shown in the exhibit and selections from the book we published.


Terra Firma @ Monte Vista Projects

Terra Firma is my first solo exhibit, held at Monte Vista Projects in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Curated by Tiffany Sum, the show runs from January 19 – February 10, 2013. Gallery hours are weekends 12-5pm and by appointment.


This is the main text of the Press Release that I wrote for the show:

The work in this exhibition borrows strategies from speculative fiction and design in order to explore themes of escapism, the frontier and the illusion of utopia. In collaboration with graphic designers and 3D computer modelers, Michael has fabricated a series of artifacts that contrast the obviously fictitious with the ambiguously realistic and uncanny in an effort to anticipate the political imaginary of abandoning the Earth.

Through print design, sculpture and installation, the works in Terra Firma explore several ideas including the visual vernacular of how rovers and satellites (themselves, unique sculptures) “see” their environment and therefore, how we experience the unknown through them. In addition to this, Michael is utilizing the strategies of graphic design branding campaigns to envision boarding passes for impossible destinations.

At once an imagining of a potential future and a lamentation for an unsatisfactory present, this work investigates space exploration and space tourism as an adult concretization of a childhood need to be subsumed by fantasy.


Dark Matter

Dark Matter is the overarching title for a series of events that will take place at Machine Project, in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Beginning in October and continuing into November, SPECULATIVE will be at it again! This time, however, as an organizational collective and not a singular exhibition. Under the moniker of SPECULATIVE, Chris O’Leary, Zach Blas and Myself have organized a series of events which all respond to the theme “Dark Matter”.

Speaking @ Dorkbot SoCal

Update: Here are some photos from the event.
I’ll be speaking about my work at Dorkbot SoCal next week. Sunday, 12/16 at 1pm.

Dorkbot Socal is held at Machine Project gallery in Echo Park, LA.

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That’s So Gay: Tracking twitter posts containing “gay”

I’m posting some documentation of a quick, one-day experiment to try and map out the location of specific tweets from Twitter. I’ve been playing with the Twitter Streaming API, in anticipation of a new project. Interest in this technology happened to be concurrent with President Obama’s recent endorsement of same-sex marriage (gobama!). As a result, I thought it might be interesting to filter the live twitter “stream” to look for only tweets containing the word “gay”. This introduced some fun/interesting challenges and taught me a few things about working with Twitter. I’m not really sure what I was looking for, to start. I wanted to begin by simply observing the frequency and sheer magnitude of tweets.


Rapid Prototyping

Since I started working at Art Center, I’ve become more interested in incorporating Rapid Prototyping techniques into my practice. By RP, I mean methods of fabricating 3D elements from computer models or 2D diagrams (done in Illustrator, Sketchup, SolidWorks, etc.). I audited a 3D modeling studio last Fall, for example. While in that class, I was exposed to a few new techniques. I am already familiar with laser-cutting and CNC Milling techniques, and employ them frequently in my work. So I was more interested in learning about Plaster and FDM printing.