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Brian Alexander: Looking to the Future artist spotlight

Updated: Jul 29, 2021

To mark the release of the Looking to the Future online archive we are talking to transdisciplinary artist Brian Alexander who showcased his film DataFate as part of the online film screening. Here Alexander will discuss the range of projects created under Trace Bloom, which was established as a blanket field of exploration for all form auditory.

Image description: a landscape poster depicting 2 electronic fans attached on a stand with a red wire connecting them. These appear set high up in the air within a lush area of trees and undergrowth. Bold white text in the centre reads Brian Alexander, underneath in a smaller font reads @tracebloomaudio.

Can you introduce yourself and your practice?

I am Brian Alexander, a Transdisciplinary Artist and Experience Designer. My studio is engaged in a range of projects from product development, to use behaviour and application, to open charter exploration and research. What inspired you to establish Trace Bloom?

I was inspired by the desire to establish a frame work that intentionally blends a variety of artistic and technical disciplines under the guise of improving and contributing to the human narrative.

What drew you to a practice exploring sound?

It is like taste; its value is in the moment it occurs, everything after that is a memory.

Brian Eaton, Light Pipe, video, 51 sec, 2021

Video description: a short installation video of beams of floating blue light which slowly move and rotate on a black backdrop. The film also includes an ambient soundscape containing bird and insect sounds.

You have described your artwork as exploring perceived phenomena. What drew you to exploring this?

Human perception is inherently limited. We only perceive narrow bands of what is a much greater whole. Its been a life puzzle of bringing the invisible, autonomous, and overlooked to the human lens of awareness.

Within your films is much of the audio heavily edited or are recordings left as originally captured?

It depends on the nature of the piece. The ones that are more graphically textural and generative, I create with nothing but the visual in mind. I then do multiple takes and play to what I see similar to an orchestra pit in the silent movie era - a sort of live interpretation. The devices built for a given scene are the instruments which create the sound. These installations, though temporal are much more labour intensive involving multiple cameras, sensors, and a time structure to work from. I try to keep it as close to what happened on site as possible but some rework is always required.

Brian Eaton, 49pts, video, 53 sec, 2021

Video description: a short installation video depicting a white square sculpture placed in the woods. On the surface are a number of metal holes with a marble inside. The sculptural slowly rocks from the wind causing the marbles to roll creating an ambient soundscape.

Are there specific areas of research or artists that you draw inspiration from?

I am interested in everything - in a filter-less sort of way. I mostly observe the behaviours and patterns of all things relative to a context which is wired back into a greater circumstance where everything is connected. I find the apparent “repeating not repeated” quality endlessly inspiring.

What one thing would you like to change about the art industry today?

For me I would just like to see its continued evolution with an emphasis on accessibility and openness.

We recently showcased your short film ‘Data Fate’ as part of the Looking to the Future film screening. Can you tell us about how this film was developed and what themes you explored?

Data Fate is referencing the "choice of involvement" and objectification of the world into a duplicate abstracted format for control and monetization. Its factory - dream like quality is akin to a nature documentary where we see the abstraction of what was in its native form of bits, photons, and networks. There does not seem to be a logical path to wake up from this so I treat it as us sitting together and watching a building burn to the ground in slow motion which is both intoxicatingly beautiful and horrifying at the same time.

Brian Eaton, DataFate, video, 3:44 min, 2021.

Video description: an experimental film depicting a range of physical props and sound machines to create a layered and visual display of light pattern and evolving sound.

In your recent film ‘Rain Sequencer’ you make use of the weather to create a sound piece. Is incorporating the natural environment important within your work?

Yes, there is always some element of no-human authorship in my work whether primary or supportive elements. Nature is the engine of all expression just as the sun power powers life on earth. While it my feel foreign in today's built world, we connect to these signals in a way that is beyond words.

Brian Eaton, Rain Sequencer, video, 59 sec, 2020.

Video description: a short installation video depicting 3 stands fitted with a rectangular piece of aluminium. Placed outsides the rain gradually falls on the aluminium, causing a recorded sample to play.

What are you working on now and what might you be doing moving forwards?

Currently the format and cadence of work seems to describe its next steps as it happens. So, I will follow this trajectory till it throws me off ;-) In terms of new work, I am developing some tools and processes to explore time as a malleable component of expression.

If you would like to see more of Brian's work you can view there website here. You can also view the range of projects as part of Trace Bloom here, and on Instagram @tracebloomaudio.

Brian Alexander's work alongside others can still be viewed in the Looking to the Future digital archive here.

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