Volatilia at Barrister’s, and the Robot Parade!

September 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Opening Saturday, November 10, 6-9pm
through December 3
Barrister’s Gallery
2331 St. Claude Ave.
New Orleans, LA
Averting this season’s squashed attempt at rallying limited resources for an annual Automata exhibit, we instead have concentrated efforts on a condensed exhibition at Barrister’s Gallery, called Volatilia.   This revised show will feature mechanical sculpture as well as experiments in static 2 & 3d work, hooked together by our new theme.
bird race by Megan Lee-Hoelzle
Volatilia is a pseudo-mystical exposition concerning the ephemera of escape, or, the debris that results from the efforts it takes to do so.
Volatilia is a latin word meaning:
matters of flight
flying things
of birdsrelated familiar words:  volatile, volare

Volatilia is seen in a biblical phrase meaning “the birds of heaven,” though I think it gets translated another boring way, so maybe I’m wrong.  It makes sense to think of volatilia as things that fly in gaseous, infinite realms, like Mrs. Whatsit as a centaur in A Wrinkle In Time.

Alissa Eberle
Volatilia is also the title of one of Coleridge’s notebooks:

With self-deprecating humour, Coleridge alluded to the impossibility of pinning down anything as elusive as a thought by calling his later notebooks ‘Fly-catchers’: the notebook pages function like fly paper, trapping the living thoughts or ‘winged words’ and preserving them for all time, but at the cost of that very living quality which made them worth preserving.  A variation on this title occurs in Notebook 56, which bears the title ‘Volatilia or Day-book for bird-liming Small Thoughts, impounding Stray Thoughts, and holding for trial doubtful Thoughts’

Please click here to view the working list of artists, and visit Barrister’s Gallery for more information in the coming weeks.

THE ROBOT PARADE!  Sponsored by Git Hub.

No longer just flying robots, but a slew of as many varieties a krewe can manage.

H. Cole Wiley is coordinating the parade, and hosting workshops in his upper 9th ward studio.  The parade is still projected for mid-November, likely in the St. Roch neighborhood, with several great neighborhood partnerships in the works.  If you would like to participate or get more information, please add your name and contact to our Robot Parade spreadsheet under the “I am interested” category, or via this blog.

Be sure to add our facebook page, Automata New Orleans, and twitter feed for more frequent news updates!


Mardi Gras Laughs at Mortals & Robots

February 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Once again, the hubris of trying to accomplish anything practical on this physical plane, that might involve gears and cogs of any material, is foiled by the grand spectre of Carnival– it’s all around us.  Mardi Gras does not give a sh*t.  Mardi Gras is eating all of our hadron collidors.  So, friends of Automata, and prospective participants, here’s our last attempt before a respectably slight period of rest after the big day itself, at a brief update, and reassurance that business is never usual.

Your humble rouser of makers of machines of wonder wishes to convey the following:

The deadlines are meant only as sign-posts.  We are working with individual artists regarding any extra financial considerations and calculating the basic costs of running Automata this year, from our Ogden gala to the flying robot parade to the takeover of the Ironworks to the pitcher plant choir planned for Models and Miniatures…  You need only contact us to begin this discussion.  Otherwise, as usual, the curious are welcome to contact us for participation almost to the month of the show.

FLYING ROBOTS?  We are doing it for the children!  Krewe of Spy vs. Spy hereby declared a true phenomenon.  We will hold a picnic and parade, tentatively set for Sunday, Nov. 18.    Specific details should be nailed down later this spring.

In the meantime, if you have any questions and need to speak to us right away, you will find us here:


January 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Changes in fundraising and deadlines!
As it happens in New Orleans, resources are limited and often the same people you work with are working on something else that needs a lot of time and effort- and so we are postponing the cheap art auction and purely local fundraising events in favor of applying for kickstarter for the end of February.

We might have a bbq in March, anyway…..

This all means that if you wish to be considered for any kind of grant- from travel expense to materials- we will need to know by February 18, as we must raise the bulk of our budget as early as possible.  We’re working with individuals now to create our projected money needs- we will try to stay flexible in the coming months, but it’s better to talk to us early.

Especially if you want to come to New Orleans – we’re coordinating travel groups for sharing road and shipping expenses.

We’re also working on accommodation  arrangements for visiting artists throughout the month of the show.

Money!  We will need it!  It’s a lot of fun raising it and giving it away!  We love handing money over to artists to help them with their projects!  Our priority again starts with grants for local artists and covering basic show expenses, like space rental, and moves out from there.  More on all that very soon.   Proposal deadline is still Sept. 1 but we have a lot of leeway in Automata for last minute projects- don’t hesitate to contact us.

Other news:  the 2012 Artists list is begun- please refer to the list of pages at the left of the home page.

Also, h/t Dug North:  this is Wunderland!

Automata 2012

January 4, 2012 § 2 Comments

We’re pleased to announce the preliminary schedule for Automata 2012:

*updated 1/21/12* SATURDAY, NOV. 3:  Special preview evening in the Patrick Taylor Library at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, featuring Silver Apples.  (please see following entry for further details)

SATURDAY, NOV. 10: Models and Miniatures opens at Barrister’s Gallery (through Dec. 2).

SATURDAYS, NOV. 17 & 24: Automata at The Ironworks.

Deadlines for proposals and submissions (*UPDATED 1/12*):

General proposals, for any exhibit:  September 1.

Grants and travel funds will have to be worked out in advance of our fundraising efforts, as we need to make a budget projection.  Please contact us by Feb. 5 if you can only participate with financial help and seek it in partnership with our resources and efforts.  We are talking with artists and groups about budget concerns and making plans now.  We intend to apply for a kickstarter fundraising page by the end of February.  We encourage anyone out of state to contact us about coordinating travel expenses with others from your region.


“A large figure seemed to me false and a small one equally unbearable, and then often they became so tiny that with one touch of my knife they disappeared into dust. But head and figures seemed to me to have a bit of truth only when small.”

Call for project proposals:
Models and Miniatures centers around the maquettes and miniatures of mechanical sculpture and tiny universes- this is an experimental garden focusing on distortions of perspective, biological material, and the proving ground for the future of Automata in general, in the intersections of science and art. The heart of this exhibition will be the pillars of traditional mechanical and kinetic sculpture in model and miniature form; all other proposals should touch on bio-art and the use of art in science and vice-versa, towards the creation of this garden/universe of miniatures. Barrister’s Gallery is a traditional gallery- the indoors is climate-controlled and we will be making use of the courtyard and grotto for outdoor projects. Project proposals do NOT have to be miniature in a literal sense. The overall effect of a garden means that though each project or work of art will stand on its own, the display will not be traditional, and it will be the decision of the curator how the work will be integrated into the overall exhibition, while maintaining the integrity of each work and artists’ intent.

AUTOMATA at the IRONWORKS – our 3rd year:

Call to artists for the 3rd annual Automata exhibition, once again at the Ironworks warehouse at 612 Piety St. in New Orleans! Bring In the Machines.
Mechanical and kinetic sculpture, indoors and outdoors, from traditional automata to the digital and biological and all creaking and clanking and beeping and atomic things in between. This year, proposals for Rube Goldberg machines are highly encouraged.

We’re happy to say that the Ironworks warehouse is becoming more and more weatherproof, and there is ample indoor and outdoor exhibition space for projects of all sizes and capabilities. There are many architectural elements to the building and grounds that can be taken advantage of.

Depending on our fundraising capabilities and success in coordinating with out of state artists, the goal once again is to arrange for consolidated transport from several regions. If you would like to come to New Orleans to be part of Automata, we will do our best to arrange for free or cheap and comfortable accommodations, and to work out the logistics of transporting your work safely here and back. We will need your participation in fundraising efforts to make this possible!

We will hold a fundraising series this spring, first to secure costs of the show. Our main goal once again is to provide grants to artists for materials and projects, as well as to import artists and work from outside New Orleans. Our priority is with local and regional artists, but we’re looking forward to bringing back artists from Alabama, N. Carolina and Texas as well as artists we’ve had our eyes on from points far north, northeast, and west!  Look for our now annual Cheap Art Auction and BBQ Raffle in the next few months! Automata and Models and Miniatures are open to international artists, but our ability to help ease the costs of participation is very limited- this should not dissuade you or anyone else from contacting us:  automata.nola@gmail.com or in the comments below.

This life is a fine life!


March 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Artist list developing on a new page (link to the left). Many additions and evolutions to come.

It is Mardi Gras in New Orleans— no sense in making sense. We still managed to work on our next fundraiser after the madness, at the Allways Lounge: raffle and dance party! Lineup still to come. We’ll get that flyer out; but for now there is no point. At all. Happy Mardi Gras!

Call to Artists!

September 24, 2010 § 2 Comments

kinetics, robotics, new media, bio art

Call to artists- please forward and post.

Outside New Orleans– deadline for submissions:  February 18, 2011
Inside Louisiana: contact by Feb. 18.

The Old Ironworks warehouse, 612 Piety St.
New Orleans, Louisiana

April 2-9, 2011
Open Saturdays, 5-10pm
with special appearance by The Engine on a given Sunday,
and by appointment

Companion exhibit:  Models and Miniatures
(location TBA)
kinetic models and studies, miniatures, cabinets, and dioramas

This is our second exhibition of kinetic sculpture in New Orleans.  It is open to any and all artists working in kinetics, robotics, programming, models, machinery, and bio art.  Submissions for the companion exhibition, Models and Miniatures, is open to anyone working in the above arenas as well as miniatures, cabinets, or dioramas.


Images of sample work or proposed work for Automata or Models & Miniatures, with brief description and contact information.

Please send submissions to:
Myrtle von Damitz lll

or leave a comment on the blog.

Images of Ironworks on Flickr.

This is an early notice— I am working on funding sources, including Kickstarter.  If you are able to assist in volunteering or in funding sources, including grant opportunities and private sponsorship, please let me know.  Our fiscal sponsor for any donation is The Black Forest Fancies, a 501C3 non profit based in New Orleans.  I would like to provide for shipping of work from outside New Orleans for the show as much as possible, as well as assist artists and tradesmen in New Orleans with materials.  I’m happy to help arrange for host lodging for any artist who can make the trip to New Orleans for the show with their work.  If anyone is willing to drive to New Orleans with work from any region in the U.S., please send me a note.

Link to the  review by Doug MacCash in the Times-Picayune of the first Automata at the Candle Factory in May, 2010.

Myrtle von Damitz lll

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