Wk 8 – Artist Interview – Maccabee Shelley

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For my eighth week’s artist interview for art class, I walked into the Gatov West Gallery and saw a familiar face. This was because the artist there was Maccabee Shelley who returned to the galleries for what seems to be a second time to exhibit his different works. He was very familiar because he was who I interviewed for my very first artist interview back in the second week of this class. I remember he previously exhibited his works with glass. However this time, he returned with something completely new but just as interesting. He was in the middle of trying to make a functional electric drum pad out of a slab of cardboard amidst a messy desk full of wires, cables, tools, a fan, and electrical equipment as shown in the picture above. A second yet different project he was simultaneously showing was geomancy, which is a method of interpreting markings or patterns. I did not know what geomancy was at the time and I had to search it up in order to know what was going on.

To try to explain all of this madness, the interesting red box that is interactive with a red button in the foreground of the picture on top seemed to be the geomancy exhibit. According to Shelley, it possesses the ability to “tell the future” when someone places their finger on the metallic pads on top. Apparently, this is made possible by the typewriter on the side that has been transformed to become a makeshift magnetic field generator to power the box and electric drum pad. This generator is in turn powered by a tank of liquid nitrogen sitting by the base of the table. The magnetic field that is generated is transmitted to the box that interacts with the touch of a finger that gives off a unique response. Shelley also has a hammer with the handle coated in silicon by his side which he uses to bang against the typewriter when needed to adjust the magnetic field. There was so much technical stuff that I wasn’t able to fully comprehend. It was interesting nonetheless. I’m not even sure if this can be considered art but I guess he can have his own category called “electronic art”. Shelley states that art is an expression and a language that we all chose how to interpret. In this way, it breaks barriers and brings all of us together. This is yet another example to me of how far the boundaries of art can be pushed.

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