Archive for the ‘Art’ Category.

Sophont Art at the Di Rosa

Here’s an interview of Desiree Holman in about her art. I built several kinetic elements that are going into the pieces :-)

Read the original article here


New Frontier

Desirée Holman’s latest project looks to the stars


Desirée Holman’s ‘Sophont in Action’ shows May 10—July 20 at the di Rosa, 5200 Sonoma Hwy., Napa.

ALIEN NATION Artist 'Desirée Holman's new show explores the pseudoscientific and the extraterrestrial.

  • ALIEN NATION  Artist ‘Desirée Holman’s new show explores the pseudoscientific and the extraterrestrial.

Artist Desirée Holman has spent her professional life researching human behavior in a most unusual way.

She observes subcultures that seem outside the norm of society, but inform the mainstream.

Holman’s latest project examining these subcultures is her most out there–literally. “Sophont in Action,” a multimedia exhibit, looks at our fascination with the realms of pseudoscientific ideas and extraterrestrial icons. Her new work will be exhibited at Napa’s di Rosa gallery.

“This project is largely about this subculture gone mainstream, under the umbrella of New Age, which northern California has been seminal in dispersing,” Holman explains. The exhibit’s highlight is a striking series of portraits of “extraterrestrial” masks worn by human figures in front of an aura haze.

“This isn’t about my interpretation,” she says, “it’s more about our desire for [and] fantasy of extraterrestrials.”

In past works, Holman has examined the obsession with television and fascination with newborns. With “Sophont,” Holman seeks to understand how the collective vision of aliens has become so uniform and so familiar. “Why are popular visions of extraterrestrials always bipedal, always humanoid? ”

Holman explains how this cultural phenomenon took place alongside other cultural milestones like the Civil Rights movement. Before the 1960s, aliens were often seen as tall, fair-skinned beings that looked more or less exactly like people. Then, following popular stories of sightings and alien abductions, they evolved into the gray, large-eyed creatures we all now immediately picture.

“We’re really homocentric,” says Holman. “The beings are other than us enough that we can project hopes and fears onto them, but similar enough that they’re easy to grasp emotionally and intellectually.”

Holman’s latest show also includes paintings of the luminous aura that some believe we all emit. Inspired by the work of Guy Coggins, the Peninsula-based inventor of the Aura Camera, Holman depicts the colorful energies, which are supposed to tell us about our emotional impact on the environment.

Holman counters this with a series of stunning starscapes, images one might find on a NASA website, peering deep into the galactic abyss. All three styles of paintings lead the viewer from the outer fringes of science into the realm of accepted alternative ideas and theories.

In addition, the show will boast a massive live performance on June 28, as community-based Ecstatic Dancers, Indigo Children and Time-Travelers take to the grounds and manifest a living utopia of science-fiction and New Age concepts made real.

Triple Rubens’ Tube!

Rubens Tube 10

Rubens Tube 11

Rubens Tube 1 Rubens Tube 2

  • Mark Rubin: head of the project and owner of Guerilla Science
  • Isabelle Engler: Concert and flame piano player
  • Michael Kearny: Rubens’ Tube designer and builder
  • Lee Sonko: Rubens’ Tube designer and builder

Rubens Tube 3

Rubens Tube 6

Rubens Tube 8

Rubens Tube 5 Rubens Tube 9 Rubens Tube 7

Rubens’ Tube Commission

Over the last few weeks I’ve been building a Rubens’ Tube with Michael Kearney. Mark Rosin of Guerilla Science asked us to build a prototype of a piece that would travel to rock concerts and the like, blinding people with science. It’s an excellent plan.

Just a few minutes after the birth of the tube.

Practicing before the performance.

The view from Isabelle Engler, the pianist’s chair.



Last week we presented the Rubens’ Tube at MSRI, the  Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley. It went really well.

I’ll try to show you some good video soon.




Come To An Art Opening With My Work

I’ve been working with Desiree Holman over the last year, building electronic kinetic artwork for her upcoming event.

Join me at this free event, May 10th 6-8pm (5-6pm preview for members) at the di Rosa in Napa!

(yes, the image below is a bit intense. It’s supposed to be, it’s art!)

(Facebook invitation)
At the  di Rosa,  5200 Sonoma Highway, Napa, California 94559

In this new body of work, artist Desirée Holman explores the overlap of technology, sci-fi pop culture, and New Age mysticism. Through an immersive, multimedia installation, Holman unpacks the iconography associated with these realms–including aliens, auras, and time travelers–to examine the space where fantasy can reveal truth. The exhibition emerges from Holman’s long-standing interest in the communal uses of technology for creative, spiritual, and social fulfillment. Oscillating between terrestrial and extraterrestrial, and new and old ages, Sophont in Action speaks largely to our culturally developed conceptions of “otherness” and the shaping of identity within an evolving world.
FREE. (Members’ Preview: 5-6 PM.)

View the exhibition brochure:  (local archive)

Need a ride or interested in carpooling? Contact Lee or  Join the Facebook event and post a message here to connect with people in your area who need a lift or are able to provide one.

Desirée Holman: Sophont in Action is on view in di Rosa’s Gatehouse Gallery May 10-July 20, 2014. Visit  for more information.

507 Animated Mechanical Movements

Cover your eyes, this is kinetic porn!


Fire In A Bottle




With sound


Psionics 13

I did the kinetic EL wire elements in another of Desiree’s pieces, a communications helm titled Psionics 13. Here it is installed in Santa Barbara :-)

Psionics 13 10 seconds of video.

It is installed at the Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara  through the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara.


Psionics and Time Travel Experiments: Closeup

Psionics and Time Travel Experiments: Closeup, via Desiree Holman


More Images of Kinetic Helmets

As I mentioned, I did the kinetic and lighting elements for several helmets made by Desiree Holman for her recent Sophont project. I also just finished the kinetic elements on another piece for the project, a communications helm with choreographed EL wire; I’ll show you pictures and hopefully video of that soon. In the mean time, here are some good photos of the Sophont show at the  Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design in October 2013. There are a  lot of images of the helmets I worked on :-). I’m happy with how this artistic relationship is developing. (Images via Desiree’s Facebook page)


My Kinetic Helmets at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

Cool news:
I told you that I worked on the kinetic elements of Desiree Holman’s most recent art piece, Sophont. The installation, along with my bits are at the Philip J. Steele Gallery at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver until November 23rd!

See the whole catalog in PDF here!

I’m going to make an admission. When I first saw her art, I it didn’t really excite me but I thought, “Sure, let’s make art, let’s make it kinetic!” After hanging around it for a while and most recently reading the catalog, it’s seeping in. I’m starting to get it and I like it! Art is funny that way.