is this thing on? / by Jeff Herrity Artist

Oh, it's on! On November 21, 2011 I will be installing my newest piece called 'Target Audience' which is a continuation of my previous works incorporating QR codes. My last piece 'Mission Statement' was well received, and I learned many things during my critique of it. It's hard to describe how a critique went for a piece that is fairly experiential - it's hard to critique an experience where not everyone participates - meaning they did or didn't scan the code. And, this piece wasn't available to the general public, only my fellow classmates. It is now in my studio at Flux and I've had some interactions and positive feedback. Hopefully the piece will be in some shows and I can reach a broader audience.

my task list for the project Target Audience

My new piece is a bit more ambitious and at any point the whole concept can come crashing down on me. I'm creating the same QR codes but with 2inch by 2inch ceramic tiles. The first problem I have encountered is that there are tiles of different heights. The black tiles I ordered are taller than the white ones. Of course the price different should have clued me into the difference in height (and quality.) I'm not entirely sure if I will seek out shorter black tiles or taller white tiles. I've spent many hours already working on the layout of the code - and not sure if I want to spend the time doing the same task again when my task list is already so long.

I'm at the point where I need to solidify my decisions and proceed with construction. I was talking to a colleague yesterday who informed me of something even more important...the tiles will need to set up before I can really manipulate the object. UGH. So, that means that I have to be done before the 21st - which is good for time planning.

the initial layout process for my QR code

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when working to a deadline is that the timeline is not considered in a backwards direction. I was so glad that he reminded me of this, and so I was able to go back and look at my timeline differently - backwards. My calendar has changed drastically now.

It's funny that when I work on these types of labor intensive projects, I reject all technology. Normally, everything I do and manage is through technology. iTechnology really. Now, some cloud manages my entire existence. In this case, my calendar is hand-drawn in my project journal.  My new finish date for the tiling is November 18. Less than a week. And there is so much that has to happen now. It is no longer a project but a carefully choreographed dance. And at this point, I have no idea who my dance partners are. WELL, I do know, but I don't know what kind of dance they are doing. Tiles. Home Depot. Wood. etc. Oh, and a webcam where I can't control the IT environment in the gallery space. fun.

This piece, while a working scannable code, will also have an aspect that addresses time and how we perceive space in a gallery. Embedded into the middle of the piece, UNDER the tiles, will be a webcam that is creating a live video feed over the internet. I won't get into specifics here, but there is something that I'm working on that will make the piece multi-dimensional. Is this QR code a code or a doorway to another place? (admittedly, I won't go into specifics because this part may change depending on many variables...) BUT, if you want to take a peek into my world you can (but only if the camera is turned on...i'll post when I have it more permanently active...) Hopefully, I will move this camera into my studio so viewers can watch my progress on the piece.

The webcam was it's own little nightmare aspect for me to deal with. (seems like a lot of my work these days has a hint of unpredictability that keeps me 'honest.' My friend Jim R. once told me that I always saw the finish line in my work which made me often miss opportunities to all my work now has this aspect of uncontrollability (i think i keep making up words here...) that terrifies me.

But, back to the webcam - i've purchased several and only one works with MAC nicely. The Dropcam. I was able to set it up in minutes, no PC required. It was fun yesterday getting that side of the piece working and I had the camera pointed at me while I worked. I sent an email to my partner John and told him he can see me. I promptly forgot about it and that it was recording and broadcasting my every move. At one point I had an itch in my nose and started picking. Yes, I was picking my nose. And then I looked over at this eye - webcam - staring at me and I thought 'oh great, is that thing still on?'

It was on.