ROBOTRONIKA - hypermatic:automagic
19 - 23 June 1998 Museumsquartier, Vienna/Austria

Barry Schwartz, USA

"in * ter * rupt * er":
periodically and automatically opens and closes an electric circuit producing pulses

Schwartz's work incorporates metal, mechanics, computer controlled hardware, chemically reactive agents, high-voltage electricity, and live video feeds. Reclaimed technological refuse, electrified transit wires, telephone poles, an electrical tower removed from the landscape , and use of pre-existing structures, are employed in the fabrication of his artwork. Past installations have featured electrically charged piano strings attached to high voltage utility tower structures. During the installation and performance, Schwartz plays the strings coaxing arcs of electricity to dance between his fingers. Creating an auto-electronic environment, Schwartz stands in fountains and waterfalls of non-conductive fluid manipulating various mechanical devices. Additionally, the components generate an audible environment through various types of audio-transducers and amplification. Some of the mechanized elements are semi-automated and then enhanced and manipulated by Schwartz in performance. Schwartz invariably probes the nexus and relationships among the electrical, mechanical, aural, visual, and theatrical systems at work in the elements that comprise his artwork. He combines materials and concepts from various fields of study which when reexamined in the context of his design, bring about something entirely new. The components, while impressive in their physical size, originality, and sublime aesthetic, explore the fine line which exists in the physical and philosophical tension between science and art.

It is commonly acknowledged that the career of artist Barry Schwartz began at age five, when he was dropped on his head. Based in Oakland, California, Schwartz has toured and performed with his large scale electro-mechanical structures in eleven countries since 1986. Some of his more recent exhibitions have been "Arte-Suporte-Computador", at Casa das Rosas Museum, Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1997-98; "Shock Tactics", at The Works Festival '97, in Alberta, Edmonton, Canada; "Copenhagen '96, European Cultural City", in Copenhagen, Denmark; and "Out of Control", Ars Electronica Festival for Art and Technology '91", at Voest-Alpine, Linz, Austria. He has completed residencies in six countries, including artist-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin; a collaborative residency between the Stadelschule and the Institute for New Media in Frankfurt; Kampnagel in Hamburg, Germany; and at the Dobrany Institute for psychotherapy in Plzen, former Czechoslovakia . Schwartz has lectured in various countries, including recent lectures at The Chicago Art Institute and the Rotterdam Academy of Art. Schwartz received international exposure and critical acclaim in publications such as a feature article in World Art magazine, Art News, and Mondo 2000. Most recently Schwartz was the recipient of a Pollack-Krasner merit grant for 1998.