Move over, hammer and chisel. NoiseFold’s sculpture installation at form & concept was generated in the digital world, and forged in the legendary glass studio of Dale Chihuly. Transdisciplinary artists Cory Metcalf and David Stout, who collaborate under the name NoiseFold, are known for combining visual art, music and interactive cinema into artworks that manipulate the senses and stretch the imagination. The centerpiece of their exhibition, a series of blown glass forms titled Metamorph, emerged from an unexpected project with master glass artists. NoiseFold’s sculpture installation opens on Friday, May 26, 5-8 pm, in conjunction with form & concept’s Superhero Masquerade: One-Year Anniversary Celebration.
“Cory and David have been collaborating as NoiseFold since 2002, but they’re never done anything quite like this,” says Frank Rose, Gallery Director at form & concept. “Metamorph is a perfect example of the magic that can happen when diverse art and craft techniques come together.” It all started when Tina Aufiero, Artistic Director of Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, saw a 2014 group exhibition featuring NoiseFold at Cornish College of the Arts. She invited Metcalf and Stout to participate in Pilchuck’s artist in residence program soon after. The duo jumped at the chance to work at the legendary glass studio, which was founded by Dale Chihuly.
“We were given eight days with two of Dale Chihuly’s glass blowers,” says Stout. “We decided to use software to generate novel forms, and then work with the glass artists to bring them into the physical world.” The idea was an extension of their previous work, which melds real-time animation and generative electronic sound within the legacy of cybernetics and mathematical visualization. As they produced three-dimensional forms on a screen and then watched artists shape them from molten glass, they drew some surprising parallels between glass blowing and their multimedia performances.
“It was interesting to see how collaboration works in a hot shop, because it’s this incredible level of nonverbal communication,” says Metcalf. “You’re watching people dance with flaming hot substances.” The result is a series of elegant forms that are meant to be viewed in sequence. “Each piece can stand on its own, but it’s really a series of eight pieces that make a transition from a sphere into a double cone form. Seen together, they represent the time-based process that you see in this transformation.” A video animation that depicts this transformation will appear next to the Metamorph sculptures in the exhibition.
In another piece that will appear in the exhibition, titled Swarm Caste, NoiseFold generated forms using a series of equations and used a CNC machine to create a graphite mold. In the Pilchuck studio, they filled the mold with molten glass to create a sculptural form.
The works at form & concept are dramatically different from NoiseFold’s contribution to this year’s Currents New Media Festival, which opens on June 9th in the Santa Fe Railyard. For the festival, the duo is creating a virtual reality experience that utilizes large-scale projections to immerse viewers in surreal digital landscapes. Still, NoiseFold’s new understanding of glass art has echoed into their purely digital work.
“The opportunity for new media and traditional artists to merge their work is just so obvious,” says Metcalf. “Creating artificial boundaries between those worlds is not the right thing to do at this juncture. It’s important to start breaking those boundaries in the art world as much as possible.”
The unveiling of NoiseFold’s installation on May 26 will coincide with the gallery’s Superhero Masquerade: One-Year Anniversary Celebration. The party challenges gallery visitors to dress in superhero duds for a costume contest, dance-off with music by DJ Ginger Dunnill, VIP cereal bar and other festivities. An exhibition of new work by form & concept’s represented artists will also debut at the event. NoiseFold will conduct an artist talk at form & concept on Saturday, June 17, 2-3 pm. The installation is on view through July 22, 2017.