February 27, 2023
This week we recognize Gene A. Felice II Gene A. Felice II, and his twenty year hybrid practice focused on collaboration at the intersection of nature and technology.
FLOW, 2017, (above) was a multi-media evening of water themed light and projection during the annual Spring tour of the Thomas Hill Standpipe, a 1.5 million gallon water storage for fire fighting, situated in downtown Bangor, Maine. Sound and moving imagery inspired by the rich history and daily functions of this unique riveted wrought iron tank with a wood frame jacket, at 50 feet high and 75 feet in diameter, represents the incredible diversity of life that depends on water ecosystems. Collaborators on the work included faculty and students from The Coaction Lab at the University of Maine, in partnership with the Intermedia MFA program, the New Media Department, and the Bangor Water District.
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Visitors to Oceanic Scales, 2015 - ongoing, (above) explore their role in maintaining a stable ocean ecology through a multi-sensory, interactive art and science puzzle inspired by the microorganisms of the sea. Light, scent, sound and touch inspire new ways of thinking about ocean health while exploring the visualization and contextualization of ocean sensor data into a creative digital output, streamed from the MBARI Elkhorn Slough sensor array API located in the Monterey bay on the California central coast.
Above is an early 3D test print from a collaboration with Columban de Vargas, Research Director at the CNRS France, and leader of the EPEP – Evolution of Pelagic Ecosystems & Protists – team at the Station Biologique de Roscoff. Felice has been taking high resolution 3D scans of microscopic phytoplankton, hollowing them and creating scientific manipulative that can be opened so that students can examine their interior cellular components. The blue prints are early tests done on my Ultimaker 2 PLA filament based printer, printed at 60 microns resolution. The clear prints were done on our new Form Labs Form 1 SLA printer at the IMRC, with a much higher 25 micron resolution and very nice transparency / durability factors. The next steps are to print the interior components and the other half of the outer shell, as well as finalizing connector mechanisms that allow the two halves to join together and pull apart when needed.
Ebb & Flow, 2019, (above) was a three week summer research and performance trip taken with the Mobile Coaction Lab (MCL) from Wilmington, North Carolina to Santa Barbara, California and points between.The Labcollects, visualizes and sonifies local water data and shares it through outdoor, multi-media, video projection mapping and light and sound based digital storytelling events. MCL at the University of North Carolina Wilmington together with Open Lab Research at the University of California Santa Cruz, collaborated with Maine artist and wooden boat builder, Reed Hayden at the University of Maine to create the lab, constructed using a combination of wooden boat building and digital fabrication techniques, designed to house an array of art and science tools.
The exhibition titled CONFLUENCE (below) was presented at the Cameron Art Museum in 2021, by the collaborative Algae Society, which Felice co-founded with Jennifer Parker at UCSC / Openlab that has several members, both artists and scientists. The works showcased a variety of media formats, time & magnification scales, and creative approaches to being with algae as a multi-sensory art & science (media art & culture) experience. Included were growing algal portraits in a Bio Art lab, VR worldmaking experiences, biodegradable 3D printed sculptures, immersive video & sound works, seaweed pressings, 19th century botanical illustrations, a floating island ecosystem, and more. Visitors of all ages were invited to get to know algae, from the microscopic scales of phytoplankton – to the giant kelp of the Pacific Northwest. The exhibition is currently available to travel.
Gene A. Felice II bridges his creative practice across art, science, education and design, developing a sustainable network of innovation, living systems, and emerging technologies. His hybrid practice grows at the intersection of nature and technology, developing coactive systems as arts science research. His interdependent systems of hardware and software translate research into interactive, multi-sensory puzzles, exploring both passive and active modes of interaction, providing multiple ways for the audience to engage with the work. Video and animated imagery displayed via projection mapping / shared VR, transform two-dimensional surfaces into three-dimensional storytelling systems. Throughout his creative process, emerging technologies such as 3D printing, laser cutting & CNC milling hybridize with older methods such as wood fabrication, lost wax bronze casting, ceramics, glass casting and more. While keeping site specific histories in mind, he achieves confluence by merging these varied passions into a system of creative collaboration. Felice is an assistant professor in Digital Art within the department of Art & Art History at the University of North Carolina Wilmington where he is developing the Coaction Lab for interdisciplinary collaboration. His work has been featured nationally at the Cameron Art Museum, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, internationally at Sussex University in the UK, at ISEA Hong Kong and as a 2018 American Arts Incubator / State Dept. funded exchange artist based in Alexandria Egypt. genefelice.com
Featured Images (top to bottom): ©Gene Felice, FLOW, 2017 - ongoing,multi-media evening of water themed light and projection, Bangor, Maine, and following at Fort Knox Intercreate International SCANZ Biennial, and in Wilmington, North Carolina as FlowILM for Earth Day 2019-2023; Oceanic Scales, 2015 - ongoing, California Academy of Sciences & Alterspace in San Francisco; high resolution 3D scans of microscopic phytoplankton in development; Ebb and Flow, 2019, cross country research excursion with the Mobile Coaction lab (MCL), 2017 - ongoing; CONFLUENCE, 2021, exhibition at the Cameron Art Museum, North Carolina; portrait of the artist.