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spring planting result

happened! (happening.)

this is my interactive piece (details below):

if you look diagonal-right when you enter the gallery:

steady stream of people came through during the opening:


when you enter, immediately to your left are some "plants" or "leaves" (stickers):

you can add add them to the "garden" (collage):

you can also make the "garden" grow by using the computer - you just drag seeds (at left) over into the soil, then they start sprouting:

so, people can tend to the garden (interact with the piece) and help both the physical and digital aspects of the piece grow at the same time:

here's what you see when you're standing close, adding new growth (the green-on-green makes vivid colors, and there's lots of movement, which you can't see):

spring planting
new media installation (dimensions variable)
march 2009
erik sanner

viewers are invited to tend to this piece, enabling it to grow like a garden, by adding leaves (stickers), or video clips of plants growing (which are projected onto the ”leaves”). this is the third of four season-themed ”moving paintings.”


photographic installation (dimensions variable)
march 2009
pat arnao & cynthia ruse

this piece is a dialogue, informed by the concept of spring and its nascent possibilities. with the internet as a medium of exchange, the conversation evolved as an ongoing reply and response, over thirteen days, with the overarching concept of early spring as a foundation. themes of thawing, movement, budding and change took on an urban landscape.


new media installation (dimensions variable)
march 2009
katharine staelin & judsoN

in "compost" tv noise becomes the fodder that feeds growing vines. the man-made is integrated into, and nourishes the vibrant, natural, growing world with the vines showing moments of order and symmetry.


four videos loop on one monitor:

one video ("painted garden") loops on another monitor (stills of all below):


natur exquis
video 2:48
march 2009
linda griggs, philippa kaye, erik sanner, asher schmerler, & sarah schmerler

by taking footage of our own, one at a time, and then passing it along to different people, we employed a video camera along the lines of the surrealists "cadavre exquis (exquisite corpse).


mixing memories and desire
video 1:11
march 2009
athena chuang, jeffrey chuang & erik sanner

from jeff:

thematically, this piece is about optimism and it's cyclical nature. to some extent it's a reaction to the economic and political climate of the past year. while it's not my intent to gloss over those disillusionments and adversities, i do want to remind the viewer that all things are cyclical in nature, and that winters clear the way for new ideas.

from me, trying to interpret what jeff set out to do without really talking to him about it:

t. s. eliot wrote “april is the cruellest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.” images relating to childhood (tinkerbell) and adult longing (symbolized by earthworms coupling) refer to the various passions aroused by spring.


and no one knows why
video 2:04
march 2009
jeffrey chuang, charlotte sanner & erik sanner

at the end of each winter i remember the phrase “the spring has come and no one knows why.” this also expresses how i feel about art – why we treasure the experience of looking at certain paintings is essentially unknowable. this collaborative video piece examines both the way we look at pictures and the way we look at natural beauty in the digital age.


in the garden
video 7:18
march 2009
philippa kaye, erik sanner, asher schmerler, sarah schmerler

a young child plays in a “garden” – a digital projection created with paint, collage, and computer animation. also in the garden are some adults, including the child’s mother. the contrast between the child’s antics and the adults’ inability to play is an acknowledgement of the fleeting nature of spring and youth, both of which are swiftly outgrown.


painted garden
video 4:00
march 2009
linda griggs, philippa kaye, erik sanner, asher schmerler, sarah schmerler, linda stillman & susan woolf

dylan thomas wrote of “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower” – the force of creation. this computer animation is a meditation on the generative essence of natural growth, creative expression, and technological evolution.


originally i thought to only do this:

but over time i wanted to do more. here's the statement about the exhibition as a whole:


spring planting

we could say art is investigation. through creating new forms we explore existing and imaginary natural and artificial patterns, objects, ways of thinking, histories and futures. we could believe that art lets us play with alternate realities, which hopefully enable us to strengthen and deepen our connection to this one.

sometimes i think i understand what art is for, why we pursue it, make it, view it, share it. other times it seems undefinable, mysterious, impossible to comprehend. i find the history of art and the existence of art more often perplexing than not. the culture that people have created since pre-human times is constantly growing, yet it seems to always be rooted in the unknowable. so i would be lying if i said that i knew why i wanted to bring you this exhibition.

spring planting was initially conceived as the third of four new media installations which attempt to “paint” an experience of the seasons. each piece utilizes computer processing to change all the time, like a tree, or the weather. the new media installation spring planting is an interactive work which grows like a garden, revealing more of itself to the viewer as it is tended.

ultimately spring planting expanded from a single work by a solo artist to an exhibition of multiple new pieces by several artists working together in collaboration. my memories of gardening all involve working with other people. gardening is all about growth. i believe that when we collaborate with other artists, we come up with things nobody would have thought of on their own, and the resulting work expands beyond the scope of what we are capable of imagining alone, a transcribed conversation between muses. therefore, the key parameter of the work in the show is that each piece was created by artists conceptualizing the work together.

ideally a garden should provide nourishment. i hope that by viewing the works on display in this exhibition, you find that your visual appetite has been sated.

erik sanner
5 march 2009


this exhibition would not have been possible without the unflagging efforts and support of leah peterson.

my solo interactive piece contains hundreds of images taken by charlotte sanner.

i am indebted to both of you and to the artists who participated in collaborations. i appreciate all of your contributions. thank you for making spring planting real.


after the opening, leah and i added a few more bits of green to the collage. here's what it looked like friday evening.

by today, hopefully, it looks different. for the next couple of weeks it should keep growing, like a garden.

first day of spring

first day of spring, also first day of spring planting (the show is up and the opening was this evening).

going to sleep, here's just one picture.

unbelievable (= more)

saturday was so smooth, so good, so special, tried to temper my expectations for sunday a little bit.

but sunday delivered too!

i changed the projection incorporating some of what we did saturday into it, here's a still frame from what was projected:

linda and philippa were both there again, also sarah brought asher. for the end of the "painted
garden" piece, we painted everything brown as we collapsed it all back into the wall (away from the camera = back down to the soil) = garden wilting.

then we shot some other videos, sarah instigated it, here's a still frame:

it's friday night, this weekend can't possibly compare to last weekend. but i'm so happy to be editing this footage now. i was there.

painted garden

an email i sent:


3 march 2009

subject: saturday and/or sunday morning?

i thought we could get together for a couple of hours and mess around with paint / video / collage / talking about spring planting / growth? we could do it at my studio [or maybe griggs' studio (lindalinda, if you have time / keenness)] -

could be really fun. short time, energy burst, we make something together?


another one:


6 march 2009

subject: saturday & or sunday morning details

linda & i will be ready to go at 9am both days

hope you can join us

bring anything you want to use to make something

we'll have some paint, collage stuff, video projectors, cameras...

improvisational, figuring-it-out and just doing, instinctual artmaking, this will not just be a seed we will make something grow, more-or-less instantly

if you want to bring someone along, please feel free to bring someone along. but a collaboration between linda/susan/erik or linda/sarah/erik or linda/athena/jeff/erik or linda/philippa/erik or any other combination sounds really fun and exciting to me.

linda, see you tomorrow! susan, sarah, philippa, jeff, athena, isaiah = hope to see you tomorrow and/or sunday!

- erik


collaboration can go really smoothly or it can go absolutely nowhere. maybe nobody shows up. maybe somebody is thinking x and somebody else is thinking y and they both get frustrated. but saturday was magic. i can't think of how i'd rather spend lifetime.

linda was already there when i arrived - on a saturday morning - i was late - maybe 9:15am. we set up two computers, two projectors, and a video camera facing a wall. susan showed up with oil crayons - one of the amazing things about the day was how everybody kept showing up with different materials. everyone came with an idea which made the piece grow.

anyway we hung up a brown piece of paper on the wall (soil). we projected jeff's growing roots animation and my plant animation onto that, one in each projector. i got out some paint. we started drawing and painting.

linda had the idea of not just collaging, but folding out leaves so that they hung out into space. she provided green paper. susan had brought newspaper and cardboard with her. we used all three.

the other linda showed up, bearing tulips and plant cuttings. in they went. we were all painting, drawing, collaging. at this point there was enough vegetation that the soil was mostly obscured, so i put my dynamic plants-growing animation piece into the other projector as well.

susan was bothered by the projection moving but the painting / drawing / collage remaining static. we put the fan on the piece, everything was moving.

all of this was a performance for the video camera. the final piece will be a linear video of what we made - essentially an animation. (i think.)

at some point susan left, linda left, philippa arrived; she brought seed catalogs with lots of pictures fo plants and flowers, and fabric. she also wanted things moving towards the camera. we strung thread through the studio and began to collage out into space.

this is how we ended the day saturday, maybe 3pmish (before heading to singing with linda, then volta solo and finally brooklyn for dinner with ruthie & ellen).

i've been wanting to collaborate with jeff, linda, linda, philippa, and susan for a long time. i wish we could do more. (i mean i hope we can do more.)

if i do nothing else this year, 2009 will have been a good year.


a week ago sunday, showed the first version of spring planting. feedback was super-helpful.

pre-spring planting

seeds planted in my studio some weeks ago have started sprouting

a time-lapse camera is recording the growth every thirty seconds

i love knowing that if i'm asleep or eating or in the shower or even working on my art, these plants and these machines are also contributing towards spring planting growing.