A Piece of Burning Man to Light Toronto A-flame at This Year’s Scotiabank Nuit Blanche
For the first time in Canada, Toronto-based art collective to share audience-controlled flame-throwing sculpture, The Heart Machine, as an official exhibition at Toronto’s Scotiabank’s Nuit Blanche October 1, 2011.
Toronto, September 20, 2011:
Creators of the flame-throwing interactive sculpture, The Heart Machine, prepare the piece for its Canadian debut as an official exhibition at Scotiabank’s Nuit Blanche 2011 Toronto. The project came to light through the creative inspiration and design of Canadian concept artist and project manager Christine Irving, along with 25 other makers last year, and made its international debut at the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada.
The Heart Machine is a collaborative art project that combines sculptural structures, flame effects and modern mechanics to create a compelling interactive experience that invites and thrives on it participation.
The piece features a 6-foot by 10-foot industrial heart as its center, surrounded by four 16 foot “arteries”. When touched or stroked by passersby, participants control the rhythm and size of the fireballs, shooting flames up to 25-feet into the sky. The exhibit also features technology originally created for the Ontario Car Industry, re-purposed to run the interactive elements of the sculpture.
It is also the first art project by a Canadian woman, Irving, to receive official honorarium status by Burning Man’s art team, as well as the first project from Eastern Canada to receive the competitive bursary. This year, in addition to Scotiabank Nuit Blanche’s support, the project has also been granted a special award from the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) to support its first Canadian presentation.
The sheer scale of the project, spanning 80ft x 80ft, has brought together makers from all walks of life, including an architect, welders, electricians, product and interaction designers, an anthropologist, a lawyer, students, a couple of engineers – one retired, and software experts, to name a few, from across the Greater Toronto Area. The piece will be located in “Zone B” at Scotiabank’s Nuit Blanche, near Bay & Edward Street in downtown Toronto. The piece will be engulfed in sand to emulate the conditions of the desert, where the piece was first displayed one year ago.
Inspired by Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent classic Metropolis, Irving says, “The Heart Machine acts as an interactive metaphor between citizen and city, citizens and technology. Citizens being the arteries and blood, have a choice to exist silently or be active participants in a city’s future. The work questions people’s symbiotic relationship with technology.”
Christine also commented, “Showing The Heart Machine at Burning Man was a fantastic opportunity to show Canadian art on a world stage. Now that we’ve shared this piece on an international scale, I’m excited to ignite the Toronto audience with a piece of Burning Man on their home turf”.
The Heart Machine was first built in 2010, through collaboration with Site3, a hacker lab and maker space in Toronto. The revamping of the art piece is currently taking place in Scarborough, Ontario, by makers who associate under the name i.a., or interactive arts. Christine founded i.a. in 2011, and brings together makers and artists who are dedicated to creating big art that is made collaboratively and requires audience interaction.
Started in San Francisco more than 30 years ago, the Burning Man Festival has become a Mecca for installation art pieces that push the limits of possibility. Since it’s inception in 2006, Scotiabank’s Nuit Blanche in Toronto has similarly provided a platform for artists to explore and expand the boundaries of public art and public engagement. Scotiabank’s Nuit Blanche is a free, all night event that attracts more than 1,000,000 each year.
The Heart Machine will be on display and ready to engage participants all night, from sunset at 6:59 pm on Saturday, October 1, to sunrise on Sunday, October 2, 2011.
About interactive arts
interactive arts (i.a.) is a group of artists collaborating to create art outside of the usual perceptions of what art “should” be. “Remarkably different about i.a. is our approach to art: it is our belief that art should not only be enjoyed but also touched and interacted with”.
interactive arts not only includes full-time professional artists, but those who work in other industries yet prioritize the time needed to create and collaborate on large interactive installations. Irving says, “Our common thread is that all a.i. artistic team members have ‘unusual perspectives’ and ‘abilities to synthesize diverse elements into something meaningful.’”
For more information or to set up an interview, please contact:
For the public:
Detailed Press Release: http://interactivearts.co/thmpr-09202011