Thomas Little teaser

January 28, 2011 § 1 Comment

Anybody want to start a robot war?

Thomas Little does.


Christopher Deris

January 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Chris Deris is one of the most meticulous artists I’ve ever met, whose work surpasses the facts of the machine: playful, sinister, erotic, and funny. The means to the end are not in a hurry, either. At last year’s Automata, not a few who cranked the handles of his piece “Intimacy Machine” felt the vapors. To quote a local musician, who had to recruit a stranger to crank the other handle, “I was mortified and thrilled… I got that.. I had to blush.”

Look for more of Christopher’s work at this year’s Automata. See more videos of his work here.

Detail, Intimacy Machine by Christopher Deris


January 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

A big welcome to James Goedert and Bob Snead, two prolific artists living in New Orleans, and a small army of advisers. Organizing Automata takes some work!

We need to raise at least $10,000 to expand the show this year: to bring in artists and their work from across the U.S., give small grants to Louisiana artists for materials, pay for the space, and all other expenses, including the great DJ Micronaut’s talents.

Along with another team of friends, we’ve developed several fronts in the money-raising battle:
1) Kickstarter
2) business/corporate/private sponsorships
3) a huge party (after Mardi Gras)
4) a “Cheap Art Auction” in late February
4) selling booze

All Automata artists are encouraged to participate in any way they can. Without your help we can’t bring you here from outside New Orleans, and we can’t work inside New Orleans without paying the rent! Our fiscal sponsor is 501c3 arts non-profit The Black Forest Fancies. If you want to support the show, your donation is tax deductible.

Kickstarter rewards ideas:
-commemorative coin
-silkscreened posters
-artist sketches/designs
-a 40 minute cd of voudou ceremony field recordings from Haiti by sound installation artist Rob Peterson
-a dvd collection of artist interviews and footage from Automata 2010 (& possibly 2011) by Simon Dorfman of Gumbo Labs
-something really really cool that’s handmade by selected artists for the big bucks

We need your help.

Also, if you are in New Orleans, this weekend is the last to see Goedert’s show at Antenna Gallery: Machines on Paper. Go! A car turned into a drawing machine!

Video evidence

January 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Our trailer:

& a tour of last year’s show:

With thanks to Will Kirchheimer, Kourtney Keller, Malcolm McClay, Kenny Lantz, and the Ghastly Grimey Orchestra!

For other video highlights of work from the LSU Kinetic Sculpture class, visit the channel.

Call to artists

January 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

please go to this entry:

Call to Artists



January 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

years and years ago I saw a film about Niki de Saint Phalle at the Castro theater in San Francisco. I wasn’t as much into her gardens and whales as I went in expecting, even if one of my dreams is to make a really big insane garden. All I wanted to know about was, who made that war machine? Who made those gears and wheels in the park? I’m sort of a numb-nut. It wasn’t until a trip to Europe after Katrina, to look for friends who’d left afterwards, either back home or just to find new roads, that I ran smack into the guy, in Basel, where a few living friends also happened to be, some to work the art fair- I’d just gone to see a friend who lived there, and the art fair is another story.

“There is a famous Swiss scultptor… artist.. uh, let’s go to the fountain, you’ll see.” Tinguely. My friend said his name a few times in ways that different people prounounce it, so she could make sure I knew how to pronounce it right, not like “tingly.”

“Well, that’s him,” I said, and stared at the fountain for as long as my friend let me, before she took my coat sleeve to show me where Erasmus was buried.


Basel, Switzerland, and Tinguely, ended up a zeitgeist for some of us. The New Orleans Airlift formed there, and collaboration with Swoon began there, and so did Automata and all things that intersect.

Tinguely Museum



January 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

The work of Casey Curran ,who lives and works and shows in Seattle. I found out about his Ernst Haekel-inspired pieces through working on the Multispecies Salon 3: Swarm. Though we were not able to bring his work to New Orleans for the Swarm exhibit, I’m delighted we have another chance.

There are many artists, in New Orleans, Louisiana, and beyond, that I’d like to start off highlighting all at once. Let’s start here!

We are finally able to start the fundraising planning in urgency. A combination of previous obligations, holidays, and local tumult has delayed it all. We plan a three-fold strategy: kickstarter, local patrons, and corporate sponsorship. This year I’ll need to raise about 12-15 grand to pull off what I see is the next step.

The first Automata was run on a shoestring and a delayed month’s rent and the interest from out of state was surprising, let alone the crowds, people of all ages and walks of life who thoroughly enjoyed the magic. It’s apparent that without funding to bring in artists who work in kinetics, robotics, and beyond, that we could run the show as it stood last year– but that’s not the point. There’s a universe of ingenious inventors who are looking not just for places to show off, like at Burning Man or MIT, but for arenas to share ideas in. Louisiana is full of garage tinkerers and inventors, like everywhere else; our schools don’t teach trades any more- the knowledge and tradition is passed down from generation to generation.

This arena is something as a painter I have trouble summarizing and certainly can’t speak the language of; there are inventors and kinetic sculptors who are sponsored by institutions whose skills and ideas are integrated into industry– like biotech and biomedical and the infinite applications of robotics, and their ideas with backing bring more and more access to new materials and the finest of traditional materials; there are also those who work in trades who work with whatever they have, to create things of wonder for people they know. There are gearheads, train freaks, machinists, woodworkers, cam-grinders, magnetics attache’s, whimsy-makers, glossy-eyed programmers, people who like to blow things up… all of this makes Automata, and how it should be year after year. It’s a trade show, a theater show, and an art show.

I was inspired to pull together the first Automata by the work of the infinite cam-maker,Taylor Lee Shepherd and like-minded friends in New Orleans, whose work is not very well documented. We all found a great universe in Automata. I can see a lot in store for New Orleans beyond this show, whether we can raise money to bring in out of state artists or not this year. Please stay tuned for videos of last year’s show, and promotions to help us raise enough funds to bring in work like Casey Curran’s and others, from Massachusetts, the Bay Area, Austin, and Asheville. More artist highlights, too.

Visit videos of Casey Curran’s work on vimeo:
Blind Spot and more.

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