I create participatory sculptures and live performances from reinventions of the zoetrope, a 19th-century optical device. Early in my career, I pioneered the process of making films from spinning sequential sculptures. Working with these zoetrope-like objects forced my fresh consideration of ideas through a visual grammar of loops, spirals, and dimensional motion. I am driven to explore the expressive potential of this mandala-like form of motion-art, as its development was cut short by the invention of film, a medium that had us trade the zoetrope’s simple interactivity, tactility, and totality of imagery for the tunnel-vision of the projector’s beam, the corral of the screen, and the passivity of the audience. My recent work explores topics related to media and cultural history, our relationship with technology, and kinetics as a form of artistic expression. Physical presence is becoming increasingly important to both the creation of my work and how the public experiences the art. I consider the zoetrope’s resurrection as a manifestation of a universal desire for tactility and physical presence amidst our increasingly disembodied existence as we work, play, and socialize in virtual environments. Paradoxically, my use of contemporary technologies such as digital fabrication, computer animation/compositing, LEDs, and custom-built micro-controllers, suggests that I am irreversibly augmented by our digital age.
While at Headlands
I am further developing The Man Who Stopped Time and Other Fantastic Voyages, a project that poetically tells the story of Edward Muybridge while encapsulating and reflecting upon the sweeping changes to human existence that began picking up momentum at the start of the Industrial Era and continue now toward human obsolescence and/or the singularity (when biology and technology become one). The project manifests as both a performance in which I spin image sequences live with accompaniment by musicians, and as a walk-through rotating tunnel that is covered with image sequences inside and out – the animations are viewable with handheld strobe flashlights. Both outcomes are highly experimental – my time at Headlands is allowing the focus and iterations needed to realize the expressive possibilities of both.
Flora, 2018; UV-cured pigment on vinyl, polycarbonate, strobe, electronics; 47 x 47 x 4 in.; © Eric Dyer
Shabamanetica, 2017; UV-cured pigment on aluminum, steel, walnut, strobe, electronics; 140 x 96 x 48 in.; © Eric Dyer
The Bellows March, 2009; video, 5:30 min.; © Eric Dyer
Copenhagen Cycles—Times Square Midnight Moment, 2006/2015; single-channel multiscreen video, 3:00 min.; © Eric Dyer
Girona Octopi, 2016; adhesive synthetic inkjet print, crank box, electronics, live video projection; 18 x18 x 9 ft.; © Eric Dyer