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May 5, 2015 3:33 EST

Digital Forest By Tully Arnot

iCrowdNewswire - May 5, 2015

Digital Forest

By Tully Arnot

The story of the project

As an artist, I’m interested in the effects that technology has on social interaction and culture. My work often blurs lines between digital and organic worlds, and asks the audience to question their relationships with contemporary technology; hopefully encouraging audiences to better understand the media and platforms that mediate their lives.

Digital Forest is a new sculptural installation created for Underbelly Arts Festival 2015 on Cockatoo Island, Sydney. The artwork will consist of 300+ ‘robotic’ plants which use light sensors, servo motors and Arduino micro-controllers to create an interactive relationship between the audience and this electronic foliage.

This installation develops on a previous work Nervous Plants, winner of the 2014 NAB Private Wealth Emerging Artist Award. The new work will refine the technology that I developed in that work, as well as increase the complexity of the interactive components and greatly expand the scale of the work.

Digital Forest, and its predecessor Nervous Plants, are in part inspired by Michael Pollan’s article The Intelligent Plant from the December 2013 issue of The New Yorker. This is a wonderful article that covers a range of topics from plant sentience and communication, to possible applications of plant robotics.

How the funds will be used

100% of the funds raised will be used to purchase materials to create the artwork. I’ve sourced quotes from a number of suppliers and naturally the project will grow or shrink to accommodate any price variations.

Budgeting for 300 individual components;

‘Arduino Nano’ micro-controllers $4 each = $1200
5V and 12V power supplies $10 each = $3000
Artificial plants (from $2 to $50 each) average $20 each = $6000
Servo motors (average 3 or 4 per plant) $3 each = $3000
Miscellaneous electronics (wire, solder, resistors etc) = $1000
Studio rental ($262/month) for 4 months = $1048
Total = $15248

The surplus of $3248 (plus any extra costs) will be covered by me.

Additionally, costs such as freight, installation, venue costs, lighting, technical assistance etc will be directly covered by Underbelly Arts.

Thanks to Creative Partnerships Australia’s MATCH program, every dollar you give to this campaign will be matched dollar for dollar provided we reach our campaign target of $6000.

Some of my other work

My work explores the subtle, almost alchemical, alteration of everyday objects, in order to shift the audiences perception of these familiar forms. It aims to reconnect with objects and understand what their functions (and by extension, our needs) really are. Further it interprets the intangible relationships we have with everyday items and illuminates new ways of thinking and interacting with the world around us.

My research (which led a MFA at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney, in 2014) explores various real and imagined Artificial Intelligences, addressing the value of our relationships with non-sentient forms. My current body of work looks at the way these relationships feed back into our own capacity to interact meaningfully with one another. The core of my research focussed on the ideas of Nicholas Carr and Sherry Turkle, and

Digital Forest, and its predecessor Nervous Plants, are in part inspired by Michael Pollan’s article The Intelligent Plant from the December 2013 issue of The New Yorker. This is a wonderful article that covers a range of topics from plant sentience and communication, to possible applications of plant robotics.

Challenges

The support of Underbelly Arts Festival during the development and presentation of the work, as well as the location present a unique and valuable opportunity to present a new artwork to large audiences. As such I’ve chosen to develop this work based on technology I’ve used in previous works, utilising the opportunity to refine and expand this artwork.

The primary challenge will be massive workload of approximately 1000 hours that I’ll need to construct the work.The successful funding of this project will ensure I can focus time and energy on constructing the work, and the support of Underbelly Arts Festival will help overcome any obstacles.

About Underbelly Arts

Underbelly Arts supports Australia’s next great artists. Through providing unique and unparalleled opportunities to bold new artistic voices, Underbelly Arts facilitates risk taking and exceptional artistic endeavour.

In 2015 Underbelly Arts is once again taking over Cockatoo Island and giving artists the chance to create and respond to one of Australia’s most magnificent settings. These works will then be showcased as part of the Underbelly Arts Festival, a two-day celebration of process, new ideas and the best emerging and experimental artists across Australia.

For me this is a unique opportunity to develop a new major work, within the supportive network of Underbelly Arts, and with the opportunity to present it on Cockatoo Island – the key site of the Sydney Biennale.

The Underbelly Arts Festival will take place on August 1 – 2.

Part of Collection

Project Team

Contact Information:

Tully Arnot

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