Concatenation, March 2013
This March, Olivia Robinson transforms Grizzly Grizzly into an immersive environment uniting the metaphysics of hand, word, and technology in "Concatenation". Robinson's exhibition features two related bodies of work. Alchemy & Mediations is a series of electronic textile wall pieces, each emitting light based on interconnectedness. The second series, Context Posters, consists of over one hundred hand-drawn text works that explore patterns in language using a process of concatenation, an operation - in both formal language theory and computer programming - of joining two or more separate items end-to-end, in "strings".
Alchemy & Meditations is a polyptych consisting of thirteen electronic textile pieces. Each piece is a functioning circuit – a pattern of copper fabric connects hundreds of light emitting diodes. As electricity runs through the artwork, the LEDs glow. The connection in this work is literal – it is the fact of their connectedness that causes the work to emit light.
The connections in Context Posters are found within the pattern of language. In creating these pieces, Robinson culled phrases from a vast database of printed language from 1890 to 1910. Using the database, she created sets of three words, grouped according to their most common co-existence in written popular texts from that era. After removing common words, such as "the" and "a", Robinson found these concatenations to have mysterious poetic weight. For example, the two words that appeared most often with the word "bread" were "priest" and "rainbow" – hence the Context Poster that reads "PRIEST BREAD RAINBOW".
A multimedia artist based in Baltimore, MD, Olivia Robinson, creates diverse work that ranges in scale from hand-built textile circuits to architectural inflatable structures. She explores issues of justice, identity, community, and transformation. Robinson has received awards and honors from National Endowment for the Arts, Franklin Furnace Fund, New York State Council on the Arts, Sculpture Space, and the Center for Land Use Interpretation. Her work has been presented at internationally recognized venues including SIGGRAPH, Boston CyberArts Festival, and the American Land Museum and has been recognized in numerous books, journals, and CD/DVD releases.