The word brink comes from the old norse, meaning the sharp edge of a hill or boundary. Over time it has come to mean the verge of a situation or disaster; a critical point beyond which success or catastrophe occurs.

BRINK is a group exhibition that pivots between absolute control and anarchy. Seven electronic media & robotic works and video installations suggest an adagio of fragile equilibriums. There are ambiguous tensions here; between freedom of choice and its repercussions; between what we understand as success, failure or stasis. Works teeter, circle and fail. There is an acute awareness of boundaries. The timing and anticipation of what might happen next; the resolution we hope for (the resolution we fear) leads us to the brink.

The five artists in Brink work between disciplines. Miguel Angel Rios and Nelmarie du Preez are represented by lens-based works that contain allusions to historic game playing, territorialism and a search for control. Battles play out on both a grand and human scale, exposing power struggles and symbiotic relationships. Stefan Tiefengraber and David Bowen give us either detached choice or ungovernable aggression; the promise of destruction is imminent and perhaps even tantalizing: these are strange attractors. In the centre of the exhibition a work by Jacob Tonski enacts a fragile dance of restraint & perseverance; containing the promise that some inherent and hidden mechanism will continue to hold things in place. Yet it is easy to foresee each tipping point and the warnings of collapse.

Miguel Angel Ríos (AR)

A Morir (’til death)
A Morir ('til death) 2003, a three channel video & sound installation by Miguel Angel Rios, was recently purchased by the Smithsonian's HIrshhorn Museum. Since the 1990's Rios has created rich, symbolic narratives referencing political violence, territorialism and mortality. His videos of spinning tops takes a childhood game, developed in Tepoztlan, Mexico as backdrop for meditations on the transience of life, aggression and the mechanics of power. Here we are dropped into the centre of the historic game played out by the most skilled players in town, on a white grid called aTrompos. Around us, larger than life, black tops spin, collide and overpower one another. The thrum of the tops and ambient street sounds intensify the drama. The violence is complicated by the formality and beauty of the game.
Image
A Morir
Biography
Miguel Angel Ríos (1943) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires before moving to New York in the 1970s to escape the military dictatorship in Argentina. He subsequently relocated to Mexico and now divides his time between New York and Mexico. He has been making work since the 1970s that references power and territorialism. Since the early-2000s, Ríos has used video to create symbolic narratives about human experience, violence, and mortality. He pairs a rigorous conceptual approach with a meticulously constructed, handmade aesthetic. (He hand carved the wooden tops in A Morir.) He has had over 60 major solo exhibitions worldwide in such galleries as Smithsonian's Hirshhorn, LA Contemporary, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Des Moines Art Center. And almost 200 group shows including Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg, Palais de Tokyo, MOMA, Centre Pompidou.
Credits
Miguel Angel Ríos (DE)

A Morir (’til death)

2003



Duration– 04:44

3 screen video installation Dimensions variable


Nelmarie du Preez (ZA)

Loops of Relation
Nelmarie du Preez / Gui present three video works from the ongoing Loops of Relation series. In to stab (2013), to rely (2013) and to activate (2015) we see the artist and her robot Gui engaged in tense relationships with technological apparatus. du Preez has spoke of her interest in our trust in technology and what happens if this trust goes horribly wrong. This series re-performs pieces by Marina Abromovich and Ulay, questioning changes brought on by our reliance on technology.(em) 'I became increasingly interested in how our trust fluctuates and how this determines how we innovate...will our future technologies trust us…?”(/em)
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To Stab
Biography
Nelmarie du Preez (b. 1985) is a South African artist, currently based in London, working in the fields of performance, photography and computational arts. Her practice revolves around issues of socio-political identity stemming from the self-other relation. An emerging artist with MA degrees from Goldsmiths, University of London in visual arts, audiovisual media, computational arts, theology and psychology. She has exhibited internationally in London, New York and Berlin as well as major cities in South Africa (Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria) and now Canada. She lives and works in South Africa.
Credits
Nelmarie du Preez

to stab

2013

65" lcd monitor, stereo


 to rely

2013

65" lcd monitor, stereo


 to activate

2013

65" lcd monitor, binaural stereo

David Bowen (US)

fly revolver
fly revolver (2013) by David Bowen is a sculptural installation in which the common house fly controls the actions and firing of a revolver. The fed & watered flies live inside an acrylic sphere which has a target as a backdrop. A robotic 'arm' holding a revolver is located next to the sphere. The movements of the flies are collected via video, then processed using MaxMSP. These movements are output to the robotic arm that aims the revolver in real-time based on the relative location of the fly on a target. As the flies fly and interact inside their terrarium they pass in front of and land on the target, prompting the device to respond. What the viewer experiences is a weapon controlled by unpredictable and uncalculated agency; flailing suddenly into space ; pointing suddenly at an observer.
Image
fly revolver
Biography
David Bowen (1975) is an artist and educator whose work has been featured in numerous group and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally such as Laboratoria Art & Science Space Moscow, National Art Center Tokyo, Soap Factory Minneapolis, Vox Populi Philadelphia. He is concerned with aesthetics that result from interactive, reactive and generative processes as they relate to intersections between natural and mechanical systems. He has an MFA from the University of Minnesota. He is currently an Associate Professor of Sculpture and Physical Computing at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.
Credits
David Bowen

fly revolver

2013

Robotic arm, houseflies, replica revolver

Jacob Tonski (US)

Balance from Within
Balance from Within (2012) by Jacob Tonski is a sculptural, robotic installation. A 170 year old sofa balances precariously on one leg, teetering, responding internally to external forces. Tonski wanted to create a work that was a metaphor for the inherent risk in social relations. He worked with the Carnegie Mellon Institute to test whether this object could actually be balanced perpetually on a fixed point. The internal mechanism is based on a concept knows as a reaction wheel, a technology most often used in satellites to correct spatial orientation. The fragile equilibrium contains within it the imminent possibility of collapse.
Image
Balance from Within
Biography
Jacob Tonski holds an MFA in Design and Media Arts from UCLA. He studied computer science at Brown University and worked as a Technical Director at Pixar Animation Studios. He has spoken at the Haystack School of Craft and The School for Poetic Computation. Recipient of an Ars Electronica 2014 Award of Distinction, he was awarded a 2013 Sustainable Arts Foundation grant and was a 2010 Fellow at the Carnegie Mellon University Studio for Creative Inquiry. He is currently Assistant Professor at the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has presented in China, Brazil, throughout Europe and the US and now in Canada. He lives and works in Chicago.
Credits
Jacob Tonski

Balance from Within

2012

Victorian sofa, robotics, Battery pack,

Stefan Tiefengraber (AT)

User Generated Server Destruction
User Generated Server Destruction by Stefan Tiefengraber gives the audience freedom of choice to destroy a work of art. Through their actions, the viewer must acknowledge that they are preventing future viewers from experiencing the work of art. Viewers are given access to a website. Once on the website the viewer can choose to release six large hammers that fall, pound the computer server and eventually destroy it. The exact timing of its demise is unpredictable yet it can be said with certainty that the Server will be destroyed if the actions continue. The website also give viewers an opportunity to watch and rewatch the destruction in real time and in perpetuity. The installation ends when the server is destroyed and can no longer host the website
Image
UGSD
Biography
Emerging artist Stefan Tiefengraber (1981) spent six years working in film production then studied Timebased and Interactive Media at the University of Art and Design, Linz. He took part in the MMCA Changdong Residency Program in Seoul, Korea in 2015. Tiefengraber’s work spans performance, interactive installation, sound art and time-based media such as experimental video. His works have been exhibited at Ars Electronica, throughout Europe and Korea and now Canada. He lives and works in Linz, Austria.
Credits
Stefan Tiefengraber

User Generated Server Destruction

2013

Server, robotics, hammers,

Acknowledgements

The Gallery would like to thank:
The Artists Wendi Norris Gallery, San Francisco, Carnegie Mellon University Studio for Creative Inquiry, Miami University Instrumentation Lab, The City of New Westminster