THE LAST TIME I scanned a QR code, video instructions for the installation of a shelf arrived on my screen.
A Mr. Rogers voice said "16-inches deep" more times than was comfortable, the instructions totaled about 20 seconds of a two-minute clip, and the overall interaction felt kinda rap-rock (a paper-to-digital confluence of questionable value and synergistic prowess). The usefulness of present-day augmented reality technologies is hard to pinpoint, and application of such tools often read as innovation for the sake of innovation, or bells and whistles for the sake of chime and call.
But for Techne Rendered Dawn, a night of augmented reality presented by Disjecta, curators Wyatt Schaffner and Experimental Half Hour take a look at how craft and the mastery of such has shaped our realities all along. In mediums ranging film, performance, music, installation, and flat images, the showcased artists bend their worlds in some immersive, psychedelic, and fascinating ways.
Take, for example, audiovisual duo MSHR (Birch Cooper and Brenna Murphy of Oregon Painting Society, the Slaves). Building total environments of the retro-futurist, post-apocalyptic variety, homemade synthesizers and interactive bleep-bloop devices are hidden in MSHR's alternate, fabricated realms−mirrors, lasers, driftwood, fog machines, etc.−allowing for unstaged interactions with light and sound between installation, audience, and performer.
John Rau and Olivia Erlanger follow with an audiovisual installation consisting of loops seen and heard: A 3D scan of an artist's body is forecasted to twist and turn onscreen, while a soundtrack plays on a loop.
Curator Schaffner says such pieces embody the sort of technical mastery that alters our perception of artistic possibilities, widening a viewer's concept of creative reality. This titular Techne is also rendered in musical performance with sets by the Tenses (members of Smegma), Matt Carlson of Golden Retriever, and recent transplant Jason Urick, all pulling from their signature arsenals of ambient, textural, and exploratory sound.
In addition to interactive projects, video pieces by Liz Harris (AKA Grouper) and Taryn Tomasello will further explore the relationship between mastery of craft and the manipulation of perceived reality.
With the spendy Time-Based Art Festival coming in just a few weeks, the price of free makes Techne Rendered Dawn a no-brainer for anyone who's curious about some of Portland's greatest craftspeople, innovators, and explorers.