A Technological Terrarium Closes

September 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

this piano put Ratty in the best mood.

Ratty Scurvics, solo piano at the Ogden for A Technological Terrarium closing party, 9/12/11

Thank you, to all at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art!
From board members to head curator Bradley Sumrall, PR Director Sue Strachan, and the Kohlmeyer Circle, to the super enthusiastic Melissa who, armed with garbage can and broom, was our favorite appreciator, and the very very patient no-nonsense security staff headed by Monica who kept our show running and available at odd hours- and everyone who is employed at the Ogden, who helped us in every detail- this was a lot of fun. We look forward to more!

(This is sooner than you’d think, as several Automata artists are adjusting their spectacles in preparation for an after school class partnership between the Ogden and Warren Easton High’s STEM Academy. We had a great time last week meeting with the STEM students as they toured A Technological Terrarium and look forward to the start of our educational adventure.)

Congratulations to the artists and thanks to Sue Strachan and reporter Chriss Knight of ABC 26 WGNO New Orleans for putting us on television— that was great early (early early early early early) morning surrealism.

later described as "our cutest interview ever."

Chriss Knight reports on David Sullivan's "Identity Theft"

Our record of Technological Terrarium is posted on flickr: CLICK FOR LINK

Any further documentation please let us know! Thanks again, everyone- artists and Ogden. Lots more to come.



September 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

No meeting this week!

However, a piece of news OR TWO: the Models and Miniatures aspect of Automata has a home. Barrister’s Gallery, November 2012.


inside outside upside down

& a brief note before futher elaboration:
Technological Terrarium at the Ogden Museum
closing reception: Monday, Sept. 12, 6-8pm
with Ratty Scurvics and his Invisible Trio!
free! cash bar!

Next open meeting:

August 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sunday, August 28
1912 Marais St. (map)

Potluck & BYOB!

who can make a vault or an obelisk

come over

Open Meetings!

August 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Everyone interested in Automata is welcome to come to St. Roch Tavern on Sunday, August 21, 1pm. We’ll discuss ideas for the 2012 show and plans for fundraising, teaching, and projects. Until we find a host home for weekly meetings, we should be able to make St. Roch Tavern our regular weekly meeting spot: Sundays at 1pm! The Tavern is 21 & up, pretty quiet in the daytime and plenty of light coming in the windows. Updates will be noted on this blog.

If you arrive here via the Ogden‘s info sheet for Technological Terrarium, please refer to THIS ENTRY for more information, including the list of artists and links to more of their work. Thank you!

Automata 2011 wrap-up; the marathon begins anew.

August 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Let’s make this a straight-forward and practical missive! Automata 2011 went beautifully- we have a full-fledged fledgling society in New Orleans. Automata is another lively forum of ideas and inventions, in practice and imagined, that follows in line with the alchemist’s dictum: as above, so below. Digital hackers, academics, garage tinkerers, auto mechanics, cabaret dancers, blacksmiths, scientists, gardeners, carpenters, bartenders, entrepreneurs and architects are all intrinsic to the spirit of Automata and what it brings to life in New Orleans.

Also, we’re truly delighted to be part of the great exhibitions at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art this summer. The Kohlmeyer Circle is working towards including technology-based artwork in the museum environs, and we reap the benefits of a new friendship with the staff of the Ogden. This includes the opportunity to start connecting skilled artists with students who want to understand the possibilities of technology and science outside the requirements of the classroom. We hope to work with the Ogden and other institutions who have built up solid educational networks to connect our artists with students, young and old, who can learn from our interdisciplinary approach to art and science.

Some press from Automata 2011 at the Ironworks
(click bold type for links)
Times Picayune:
All Automata articles! – from Doug MacCash to NolaVie essays–

Walk-through video of the 1st weekend of Automata by Inside Art writer and Gambit Weekly critic D. Eric Bookhardt!

Georgia Kennedy!

Nicola Krebill on flickr: Automata 2011
(any others: stories, photos, videos, reviews, please pass them on.)

Thanks to:
Everyone who worked their asses off, to fund-raise, to set up, to finish their pieces in the nick of time, and to keep them running. Also thanks to Simeon Coxe (Silver Apples) and Wynn LeVert (Amphibian Lark) for the icing and flourish and essence of the cake, and vicariously, our first real sponsors: Euclid Records, New Orleans and PRESS STREET and the Allways Lounge.

Special appreciation goes to Gilbert Buras of the Ironworks and the true gears and cogs of 2011: James Goedert, Bob Snead, Leslie Selting, Tallulah Elvis Poodle, Ember Soberman, Kourtney Keller, William Kirchheimer, James Weber, Lefty Parker, Mark Koven and the N. Carolina crew, and others I will edit this entry to add ad infinitum for awhile.

Also thanks to everyone who supported us with our insane and intense fundraisers– raffle donors, artwork donors and labor and flavor (like: really good cooking &/or drink making) and time donors; host bars and houses, and EVERYONE WHO SPENT MONEY. ALSO EVERYONE WHO MADE STUFF AND DONATED IT SO PEOPLE COULD SPEND MONEY THAT WE SPENT MAKING AUTOMATA HAPPEN. Thank you.

Thank you.

I’m amazed at and grateful for the enthusiastic support of Automata at our fundraisers and the show– from businesses willing to donate, to strangers, art lovers, and unexpected people who suprised me constantly by their excitement and willingness to drop a dollar and their 13th hour on this show. We have benefited from the positive lessons that the Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs have taught us about how to live well and truly. For Automata to survive as a beneficial organism, we must live up to this inspiration.

There is a lot to plan on for fall of 2012. We have already begun. The tentative anchor month is November (of 2012! do not panic but don’t delay).

We plan this time to bring in a contingent from the west coast- the excuse being: Return of the Swarm!

Give them full freedom to run autonomously and take over planet Earth, so long as New Orleans remains the Mothership. Expanding from our designs on the geniuses of Louisiana, N. Carolina and Texas, this West Coast contingent will allow us to bring in quite a catch.

I’ll post this again, but here is a basic break-down of 2012 plans:

The show will be tri-parted and display locations diverse.
A Rube Goldberg Machine Competition
Automata, weekend one and two
Models and Miniatures (a Kircherianum)

I’ve long included “bio art” in the description of and calls for Automata, but this year we are going to concentrate on including bio-art as it relates to the spirit of this show. As a diversion, and long necessary, we are duty-bound to introduce and host a Rube Goldberg Machine Competition to this region. The rest follows….

If you are in New Orleans and interested in being part of Automata 2012 please leave your contact information- we are about to begin weekly meetings and are looking for people with all kinds of skills and ideas to come on by.

A Technological Terrarium: Automata artists at the Ogden

August 14, 2011 § 2 Comments

Under the auspices of the Kohlmeyer Circle, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and head curator Bradley Sumrall, the work of several Automata artists is now on display in the Ogden’s tunnel, to the back left as you enter, just off the atrium!

The opening night, August 6, was also the massive annual Warehouse/Arts District sweat-fest known as White Linen Night, which brought record crowds to the shows at the Ogden. An audience ordinarily not thought to pay attention to the mechanical rumblings and digital bleepings in the deep hollows of a downtown warehouse were introduced en masse to an intimate selection of the eccentric and sensible talents that make up an Automata exhibition.

The show runs through September 12. We will have a closing reception, TBA, with more artists and live music.

Thanks to Doug MacCash from the Times Picayune for the nods on White Linen Night!

Click here for the flickr collection (in progress) of the Technological Terrarium exhibition and events in the Ogden’s Tunnel.
Technological Terrarium at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art

ARTIST LIST (names in bold linked to web page):
Bob Snead

David Sullivan
“Identity Theft”

Taylor Lee Shepherd

Gumbo Labs
Sirens – Prototype I: August 2011
Mixed Media- CD, thread, foil, feather, electrons

Christopher Deris
Trees: 1, 2 & 3
Word Extractor Machine
” You took the words right out of my mouth”
(see video)
What if words were material? Maybe those perfect words you have always wished to say were just stuck in the back of your throat. Having a conversation would necessitate a unique set of tools.
Word extractors are delicately handmade pliers, reminiscent of antiquated medical instruments, elegant and outmoded. Designed to distill the act of communication down to an absurdly simple act of mechanically retrieving words from the mouth of another.
This is a machine, word extractor machine, that demonstrates the use of these tools by enacting an intimate conversation from the movie “Say Anything”.

James Goedert
Too Tall To Fix Small #3
Drawing Machines: Line and Color
battery-operated animals with ink pen legs take over a tabletop.

Kevin Brown
kinetic sculpture- dog

H. Cole Wiley
Building Bridges Out of Buildings
(click here to view artist statement)

Samuel Joyce
Observation on the Preponderance or Ponderousness of Modularity in Design
(Cyclops skeleton spy)

Adam Farrington
Trumpet Boats and Snag Boat
They will flap their wings.

With great thanks to Bradley Sumrall, Chris Voigt and the Kohlmeyer Circle, Sue Strachan and Ellen Balkin. Many many thanks to the security staff who turn the show on every morning, and to all who work at the Ogden. We look forward to more!

Closing Night & Silver Apples

April 7, 2011 § 1 Comment

This Saturday from 5-9 pm is the closing night for this year’s Automata! The work from North Carolina by Mark Koven, Ben Reid, and the turbine swing team has gone back home, and new work is coming in from around Louisiana to augment the work that is still on display (see the artist list). Here’s a great review by Doug MacCash of last week’s opening night. Congratulations to all Automata participants! I’ll post all videos and links to photos and press in the coming week.

Join us at the after party at the Allways Lounge this Saturday, featuring the legendary Simeon of the Silver Apples. We are very proud to feature an installation by Simeon at the Ironworks and really really looking forward to this show! If you are a tried and true Silver Apples fan, please get to the Allways early. Doors at 9- the Ironworks and all of the machines will shut down at 9:30 sharp.

A big thank you to our sponsors Euclid Records and the Allways Lounge. Go buy your Silver Apples records at Euclid! There are many more to thank, but that will take a new page soon.


If you are wondering “what are Dead Baby Dolphins,” besides the recent phenomenon discovered in the Gulf of Mexico, here is an image of their instrument, “the destruction party troll troll troll troll 14 needle record player:”

photo by Justin Peake