Weaving Connections: Patrick McCarthy and Experimental Electronics

In lieu of the last TAD Connect gathering, we are excited to bring you the perspectives of two TAD Alumni, Ayako Kato and Patrick McCarthy, on the theme “Weaving Connections”, and how it applies to their artist practice. Read on for Patrick’s response and be sure to check out his projects through the links below.ess001

How would you describe yourself as an artist?

In a word? Polymathic. I tend to experiment in many media, and am happiest exploring new medias. This can range from painting, to poetry, to puppetry, to music, to video glitching. Currently I would describe myself as a digital fabrication artist — designing on computers and letting machines make it for me.

What does the phrase “Weaving Connections” mean to you?

There are two threads that have consistently followed me through my career(s):

  1. Technology of some sort.
  2. Sharing discoveries with a community — either students or other artists.

What artwork or project have you done that has tied into the theme of Weaving Connections?

A few come to mind. They are more “festival oriented” than actual works:

  1. The Midwestern Experimental Electronics Conference and Showcase (aka MEECAS)
  2. The Deus Ex Machina Contraptionism festivals (machines making art)

How has the process of weaving connections impacted your art practice?

Cooperative Individualism. The idea of teams building/evolving around a singular/shared goal. The impact has taken my focus from a “me” perspective to a “we” perspective. It has showed me that it isn’t about the work one does, but the work one can inspire others to do.

What are you working on currently that is causing you to weave connections?

My daily work as Coordinator for the Museum of Science and Industry’s Wanger Family Fab Lab team. Our programs bring together people from all over the world and introduce them to digital fabrication, and the Global Fab Lab Network.

What about weaving connections do you think is important and/or inspirational for other artists to consider in their practice?

When artists learn to give up some control — a very difficult thing for many — they realize that they are just as much a member of the audience as well as a performer. It opens their minds to chance operations that can benefit all. A move from “sage on the stage” to “guide on the side” can take a lot of pressure off an artist and helps them to develop a keen eye for the unexpected.

Check out more of Patrick’s work here: www.RothMobot.com

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