Dorkbot:21 Rude Mechanicals: Art Meets Machine!


August 3, 2005 - 7:00pm - 11:56pm


Seattle Art Museum



Jack Dollhausen, “I Would Rather That They Made You Dance”… When told that his sculptures made an art critic think, Jack Dollhausen said “I would rather that they made you dance”. “Think binary numbers. Think the multi-layered fugues of Bach. Think a chopped and channeled hot rod, old flying saucer movies, a pond cloudy with algae. Las Vegas odds, and the coolest magic you know, and the hardest mathematics. Now put those thoughts into motion, and you get a feeling of Jack Dollhausen’s art. I never believed, actually believed, in electrons until I encountered this work. Granted, we’re engaged in mad tangos with sub-atomic particles every instant, but Jack makes the cosmic dance visible… “All of my work comes from a pursuit of sound and light, movement and change, and unpredictable effects,” Jack says. For thirty years, he has created light-space and sound-space, an invisible architecture surrounding each work; when a viewer breaks into that space, the piece responds in various ways. Thus, this art allows us to participate consciously in the perpetual, complex oscillations in the universe, an experience ranging from the merely startling to the downright psychedelic. In other words, here’s your chance to flirt with radiant energy. And it flirts back.” (From “Persistence of Vision: the Art of Jack Dollhausen” by Aden Ross - for full essay). In this presentation, Jack Dollhausen talks informally about 30 years of machine art, taking us on an interactive tour of his art and projects past and present.


Karen Marcelo is Survival Research Labs’s Tele-Obliteration Engineer, and founder of the San Francisco branch of the dorkbot family of forums for people interested in art and technology. Karen operated the Sparkshooter at SRL’s recent Los Angeles performance, and creates the software for their tele-operated machines. She also collaborates with Australia-based performance artist, STELARC, most recently on his prosthetic head. Karen will talk about her experiences with SRL and beyond. tells you more.


Kal Spelletich founded SEEMEN, his interactive machine art performance collective, in 1988. Since then, Kal has performed, exhibited and lectured worldwide, collaborating with Survival Research Labs and exploring the boundaries between fear, control and exhilaration by giving his audience members the opportunity to operate and control some fascinating and frequently downright dangerous machinery. Kal discusses 18 years of interactive machine art performances and more.


Peter Reiquam, Art of the Machine: Machine Sculptures (and the Machines that Make Them)… Seattle-based public and machine artist Peter Reiquam creates interactive art that taps into iconic imagery often related to childhood, from Evel Knievel to thrashing sharks and toy trains – all with a calmly expressed but disconcerting twist. Peter will be describing his art and the machines and processes that inspire him, showing slides of some of his machine pieces and of the industrial processes and machines he uses to drive and create his work.


In the SAM Lobby


Machine Art from the collective of Seattle-based artists, technologists and activists currently building The Machine, the largest-ever Burning Man machine art installation, for 2005. The Machine is an enormous kinetic sculpture, operated by its audience, that will grow and change over the course of the Burning Man event before ultimately destroying itself. Parts of The Machine will be at SAM, along with a video showing work on its construction so far.


Music from Tawney: the girl who listened through a balloon underwater to a favourite sound and called it music. Her primary focus when DJing is to ask questions about the relationship and/or barrier between noise, music, and sound and to never be satisfied with the answer. Tawney is a co-founder and member of Seattle Outsider Artist Project (S.O.A.P), and will be spinning her distinctive brand of quiet noise and layered organic, industrial and otherworldly sonic textures after the presentations while you talk, check out the machine art and make connections.


Open Dork/Show and Tell


If you have an announcement, a question, a request, a comment, a work in progress, a pet peeve, a rant, a headache, an exuberant expression of untrammeled joy… the mic is yours. As we’re at SAM this month, do try and find me before or during the presentations if you want to talk, but just because we’re in an art museum doesn’t mean we can’t open dork!




Video TBA – probably more SRL or some SEEMEN


More about our speakers


Jack Dollhausen: full resume is here:

Karen Marcelo: bio here:

Peter Reiquam is a Seattle artist whose work ranges from prints and drawings to sculptural furniture, mechanical sculptures and public art projects. He earned his B.F.A. in sculpture from the University of Washington in 1982 and his M.F.A. in sculpture from Yale University in 1984. He was employed as the Head Technician and Head of the Sculpture Department at Pratt Fine Arts Center for over ten years. Reiquam served six years as a commissioner on the King County Public Art Commission and has taught sculpture at Pratt Fine Arts Center, Cornish College of the Arts and the University of Washington School of Art. He recently joined a group of Seattle area artists in a new public art mentorship program at the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs (formerly Seattle Arts Commission) to assist emerging artists in the development of their first public art projects. In addition to the production of his own artwork, Reiquam’s business, New Art Projects Company specializes in the fabrication and installation of the work of a variety of other artists, architects and designers.