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

Barry Schwartz, USA
"ARCUS INTERRUPTUS: Power-feed cha-cha, hillbilly generator stomp"
Saturday, June 21, 9 p.m., Residenztheater
"in o ter o rupt": "signals" sent to a computer that stops the execution of a running program so that another action-can be performed (charged performance view: high voltage currents & non-conductive transformer coolant).

"Arcus Interruptus", which premieres at Robotronika, incorporates two seemingly disparate elements that combine to create a electro-mechanical interactive environment. One element is a high voltage tension generator surrounded by an electrostatic shield and sits in a reservoir of non-conductive transformer coolant. The generator emits a half million high frequency oscillating volts which arcs to the other element, a mechanized geared object. A meter wide stainless steel plate is the receiving surface for the arcing electrical discharge. Liquid carbonics freeze the surface of the plate and the attracted arcing electricity creates a thermal stress on the surface. The plate is mounted on a chain drive gear, that pans 45 degrees in any direction, and a linear actuator motor that sends the plate in motion when the electrical discharge from the generator makes contact. The discharged energy also triggers the activation of various mechanical components within the gear mechanism. As the electric generator sends its arcing voltage to the receiving structure, Schwartz intervenes and becomes a conductive manipulator of this contrived electro-mechanical environment. Using his body to disrupt the electric process, his presence is fused with the energy fields radiating from the environment. The installation incorporates intricate mechanical structures, electrical phenomena, ambient sound, as well as the union of the artist and technologically inspired sculpture. By entangling himself in the electro-mechanical process, Schwartz is challenging the notion that modern technological systems operate with little or no human intervention.