As Machines Shine
Mary Franck creates her own field of islands through the utilization of algorithmic lights in her installation entitled As Machines Shine. Franck invented an alienized environment out of a group of laser- cut wooden structures that rise out of a pool of water in attempt to visualize a physical environment out of lights and projection mapping. In collaboration with Kadet Kuhne, the sonic atmosphere around the piece interacts with how the space is being occupied by varying the tonal frequencies. The projections are videos created through algorithms in order to portray the separate colonies of light.
As Machines Shine is a beautiful display of what otherworldly or microscopic abodes might look like. By projecting these complex light shows onto a machine and man- made wooden structure, Franck shows her ability to manipulate technology in such a way to resemble her own depiction of this fantastical microscopic environment. The power of sonic manipulation given to the spectators provides a portal where technology heightens their intimate presence in this microbiological community.
As stated on the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival site,
"Her recent work has been primarily in video, crafting luminous, dream-like environments populated by models of swarms and biological growth on the brink of consciousness: charting digital extensions of human imagination" (2012) Mary Franck: San Francisco Electronic Music Festival
Although Franck's work may not be a direct examination of the resources that that the exponential advancement of new media provides the artistic community, it does enlighten this concept. As Machines Shine entitles an artwork where technology give life to a physical structure. By creating a sort of biological ecosystem, Franck emphasizes the discussion around how technological manipulation carries potential to enhance the educational, visualization tools we use daily. Not only does this piece serve as a representation of how humans can grasp the functions of technology to be used for unlimited imaginative creation, but how this technology can be harnessed for educational and conversational purposes. Particularly in Franck's ecosystem, she imagines this artificial system of life that demonstrates how real microscopic environments are affected by human interaction. Spectators might not be able to see what is happening in the system, but they are able to hear the tonal frequency change caused by their presence; showing how these generative artificial life systems can be used to explore real life ecosystems.
The majority of Mary Franck's work centers around the capability of putting her audience in a dream-like world. In Carapace, Franck and Kuhne team together again for a massive live video/ audio performance that envelopes their onlookers in a 60' diameter dome with 360X210 degrees of video surface and 39.4 channels of surround sound. The video fully submerges its audience in a story self- growth and strengthening through abstract 3D rendered images. Small fluidly moving organic objects are shown bit by bit within the theater. As the video progresses, the bigger picture is revealed and the shapes reveal a larger cell-like organism. Similar to As Machines Shine, this installation utilizes algorithmic forms to create a new environment on a man-made edifice. Furthermore, the concept behind examining life on a microscopic level is explored in both pieces.
Another work that relates to As Machines Shine is Gene Felice's Oceanic Scales. This installation piece is a cave like structure inhabited by various LED light phyto-plankton sculptures. These sculptures react to changing temperatures, pH and other elements that serve to inform the audience on the habits of these tiny creatures. The correlation between this piece and Franck's is not only in the interactivity, but the attempt to get the audience to think about how their interactions might influence the environment each artist created.
Mary Franck's work was on exhibition at San Francisco's Innovative Art & Music Biennial and San Francisco Electronic Music Festival in the Million Fishes Gallery.