Creative-in-Residence Mar Williams, Photo by Dan Chick

Learn Your 'Art Identity' with Hacker & Artist Mar Williams 

When the time came to choose someone to be the next creative-in-residence, well, we knew right away who it should be. That person is Mar Williams. The beauty of working with Williams is that we are simultaneously working with a hacker, an artist, a tinkerer and an extraordinarily creative mind. We are excited about the activities that Williams is creating because they blend technology and art in a way that is new to the DAM and will provide a unique experience for visitors.

Technology plays such an integral role in our lives that it can be easy to take for granted how intermeshed our physical world is with the online world. It is easy to forget that each of our interactions (emails, websites visited, Google searches, etc.) are recorded and stored. These small, countless interactions comprise our online identity. How aware are we that this online persona exists? Is it a mirror of who we are in the physical world? Questions like these served as the catalyst for this creative-in-residence project.

Williams will recreate this dynamic between people and technology in the museum. Visitors can stop by the creative-in-residence space on Level 3 of the Hamilton Building to participate. There, they can pick up a wearable sensor. This sensor will allow them to communicate with artworks in the exhibition Audacious: Contemporary Artists Speak Out on the same floor. The wearable sensors are designed to communicate with sensors hidden behind gallery labels in the exhibition via Bluetooth.

Using one of several gestures visitors can say to an artwork how they are feeling like “confused” or “hopeful.” Each of these interactions is collected by the wearable sensor and will comprise the visitor’s art identity. After touring Audacious, visitors can see their identity projected back to them in a creature-like sculpture that Williams designed and built. Visitors can feed their data to the creature cueing it to produce sounds and colors that are coded to reflect back to them their experience in the gallery. How the creature reacts will be unique to each visitor who participates.

This experience will be available to visitors whenever the museum is open beginning in late March. Williams or a project collaborator will be in the space on Fridays and Sundays from 1-4 pm to answer questions and chat with visitors.

Stay tuned for offshoot events like guest talks and workshops with local hackers, makers, and creators who contributed to the residency and be on the lookout for Untitled: Final Friday mash-ups with Williams.

Jenette Preciado is a special project assistant in the department of learning and engagement at the Denver Art Museum. Jenette has been at the DAM since 2013 and her favorite artwork that has been on view here is Rain Has No Father? by El Anatsui.

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