Chrysalis is an installation of a series of projection sculptures based on the beautiful nests of tent caterpillars. The sculptures are constructed of branches and agricultural netting. Video imagery using creative code to manipulate footage of movement artists, as well as scientific imagery, draw from the replicating forms of nature (Generativity) to illuminate the Chrysalises. D'Agostino used Isadora for the creative coding and MadMapper to projection map the video onto the Chrysalises' sculptural screens. Video projections mapped onto layered scrim in the sculptures further multiply the imagery beyond the digital manipulations made possible by Isadora and MadMapper. Additional objects compliment the video sculptures. One of my earliest memories is of holding a tent caterpillar in my hand at around age three and asking my mother if caterpillars have a soul. I was fascinated by their gorgeous nests and by the process of transformation unfolding inside them. Chrysalis is a deep dive into answering the broader question contained within my childhood sense of marvel, and an examination of the strange sacredness of living things. It also revels in how all things are intertwined and hopes to expose the idea of singularity as a paradox. Seventy years after that original question I'm also fascinated by the possibility of emerging from one state of being into another. Or of merging, if emerging is not what's next.
Over twelve months spanning 2021-2022 video Artist and creative coder Fernanda D'Agostino and sonic artist Crystal Cortez collaborated to ask the question "what if the earth could speak to us now?" Movement artists Sophia Wright Emigh, Jaleesa Johnston, Linda K Johnson, Crystal Cortez and Min Yoon were asked to respond to the prompt:" if you could speak in earth's voice using only your body, what would you say?" Performances were filmed in advance and combined through creative coding with scientific imaging of biological and geological process by D'Agostino. Crystal Cortez performed a live score with sounds generated by recording electrical fields of plants growing "Within the Caldera" of Mt Tabor's extinct volcano. Video imagery projected on the caldera walls responded in real time to the music through the alchemy of creative coding.
Letters to Earth, a new mapped-projection work surrounding visitors to Venice VR Expanded 2021 in the Portland Art Museum's Fields Ballroom, poses the question, "What devotions does the Earth ask of us as its most powerful inhabitants?" Drawing upon personal travels and archives, as well as contributions from colleagues around the world, this new work takes on the task of "re-enchanting" the world we too often take for granted. Performers from around the world acting as "correspondents" responded to a prompt asking them to make an embodied offering for the earth through gesture, movement and ritual. Many performers contributed by entering the collaboration through the Liminal Performance Space, a digital performance installation, from locations as far flung as Mexico City, Tokyo, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Other performances were recorded live in Portland, or around the state. Through the magic of creative coding and projection mapping these diverse "letters" have been transformed, washing the walls of the ballroom with a dreamlike vision of the miracle that our Earth truly is. Our performance correspondents include: Yunuen Rhi and Claudia Franco, Mexico; Juju and Lisa Kusanagi, Tokyo, Japan; Sahra Brahim, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Marcello Natarelli, Italy; Sophia Wright Emigh and Jaleesa Johnston, Portland; Chan Moly Sam, Cambodian Community of White Center, Wash.; Mariko Ohno, Kabuki Theater of Tacoma, Wash.; Judy Chan, Chinese Opera R & D Association, Tacoma, Wash.; Justin Charles Hoover, Chinese Historical Society of America; Sarah Turner, Portland, Ore.
Fernanda D'Agostino, Felicia Lowe, Miche Wong and Knxout, bring together their diverse skills in video installation/experimental media, documentary filmmaking, dance/choreography, and sonic arts to create a monumentally scaled video installation, immersing visitors in a dreamscape of Chinatown past, present and future. Additional performances by Judy Chan, Lisa and Juju Kusanagi, Chan Moly Sam, Mariko Ohno, and Beverly Wong. Movement, Memory, Mirage investigates how culture threads its way across generations and continents, resonating in our subconscious experience of the current moment. Using dance, movement practices and ritual as a constant within an ever shifting stream of consciousness, Movement, Memory, Mirage takes us from traditional practices and shadowy memories of the ancestors, to the cutting edge expressions of the current generation. The themes and questions explored in the work include the complex "American" identity and its inherent contradictions and dualities, multilayered histories that are embedded within cultural landscapes, the folding and unfolding of experiences, and the ways in which culture carries, shifts, and expands on specific narratives and legacies towards future generations. Historic footage is interwoven into the project such as Seeing America's Greatest Chinatown (1912), China and the Chinese (1917), Golden Gate City (1938), Chinese, Korean, and Japanese Dance (1965), Chinatown by Neon (Prelinger Archives-undated), as well as home movies from the archives of CAAM. These images are layered with contemporary footage drawn from Felicia Lowe's Shirley's Hope Chest featuring Miche Wong, Fernanda D'Agostino's Celestial Navigations, and from original performances recorded live via SKYPE NDI interface with Wong in D'Agostino's Liminal Performance Space
Resist For Anna Magnani was part of Shimmering Ecologies at the CETI Institute of Portland State University. In this age of climate collapse Resist looked at our enmeshmeshment with the rest of the living world from different perspectives. Biology and its processes were one focus but I also took a darker look at our position in the environment in this dual screen creative coded immersive installation. The initial inspiration for Resist came after I revisited Anna Magnani's performance in the "Death of Francesco" scene in "Rome; Open City" and I included several scenes that sampled her performance combined through coding with scenes of environmental devastation. I wanted to see if I could be as honest and unflinching in my confrontation with situation as she and director Rossellini had been. Resist was a sketch for a larger installation that is currently a work in progress. All the effects in the project were altered in real time by sound. In about half the scenes sound levels and pitch revealed glimpses of either the consequences of our actions, historical resistance or mass migration as a result of climate driven political crisis. All the effects in all the scenes were driven by sound.
Liminal Performance Space is an arena for remote performance creation and exhibition created by video installation artist and creative coder Fernanda D'Agostino using the coding platform Isadora. Live video feeds via SKYPE allow collaborators prevented from meeting IRL to create new work together that pushes the boundaries of remote work spaces. In some cases, collaborators were separated by oceans and days of the week. The intention is to use the restrictions of quarantine to open up and explore new ways of working together that cross boundaries of time, space and cultures. Liminal Performance Space is a “house with many rooms,” a digital performance/installation space that is at once a studio for making things, a theater of memories, an instrument that is played by movement performers, and a dream space that is nowhere and everywhere. The rooms are empty and black until they are occupied and set in motion by performers visiting it via SKYPE
Nossas Aguas is a multi-faceted series of interactive audio video installations. Originally developed for the 2020 Environmental Biennial at the Museum of Water in Lisbon Portugal. Nossas Aguas continues work initiated in the Borderline series of installations placing viewers inside a liminal space as active participants. Nossa Aguas investigates the life giving aspects of water in all its form through both a scientific lens but more importantly through its properties as a universally recognized agent of healing and renewal. New with Nossas Aguas is an interactive interface for sound. Along with prerecorded sound two microphones are placed within the installation and viewers are invited to vocalize, sing, read a poem or express a thought. The audio program both puts audio effects onto their voices in real time and creates a long-lasting undertone or echo which remains audible as a coda to prerecorded sound until the next intervention by a viewer.
Borderline is a series of installations and performances, sited in different locations in Portland, and San Francisco and spanning eighteen months between December 2017 and May 2019. Borderline investigates the intersection of climate change, mass migration and government surveillance. In each incarnation, creative coding combines surveillance video, scientific images tracing climate change, and live feeds of viewers within the installation. At each site a different vantage point is assumed, making the larger project time based and territorial at an expanded scale. At the Portland Art Museum, Borderline/the map is not the territory uses monumental transparent projection scrims mounted on curving supports to carve pathways in the museum atrium. Borderline/Mapping's software synchs a dystopian collage to the columns and walls of OpenSignal's busy lobby/gallery. Borderline/Decameron included the telling of viewer/diners' own migration stories as part of Disjecta's Culinaria, which paired artists with chefs in a three-month long exploration of food's place in culture. The performance series, Borderline/InBody investigates embodied trauma and intergenerational memory. PeaceMovements embeds the imagery and programming language of Borderline into the matrix of the profoundly collaborative work and world view of Collective Action Studio's social practices series in San Francisco's Chinatown. According to Izeta Gradevic, of Sarajevo's Obala Art Centre, Liminal Performance Space art is more effective than journalism in drawing attention to the plight of ordinary people... Liminal Performance Space By immersing viewers in responsive environments, through Borderline's installation series and performance collaborations I hope to provoke reflection on how our seemingly disparate emergencies are both completely intertwined and all enveloping.
In Psychology “generativity” is a focus on future generations. In biology it refers to structures of proliferation. For Linguists it means “using rules to generate varying meaning from underlying, abstract forms.” A generative work of New Media art is one that uses coding to create varied, evolving meaning outside the creator’s direct control. The precarious state of the natural world was on my mind as I began work on Generativity last year. Environmentalist John Reuter introduced me to a palette of “generative” forms that appear again and again, as nature shapes itself. These “architectural” structures suggested a vocabulary and syntax with which to approach the installation space. In searching for a way to make work about the generativity of nature that didn’t contribute to its destruction, restoration and archiving became key studio processes. Ivy vines with their dentritic growth patterns (characteristic throughout nature) are big, beautiful and destructive. Properly removing them extends a tree’s life for many years. Vines I harvested and cleaned by hand, along with monumental projections, became the big landmark gestures shaping space. Collecting native seeds and sounds, vital activities in preserving diversity, brought me into a physical intimacy with nature I hadn’t experienced since childhood. Archives of these seeds and sounds are housed in glass vials in a plethora of generative forms that hopefully evoke some of the astonishment I felt collecting them. More than anything I want viewers to experience a connection to nature in their bodies. Sensual performance footage from choreographers Isabelle Choiniere and Linda K Johnson, suggest the animating principal “Eros,” and our inescapable entanglement with life’s proliferating forms. Entwined bodies fade in and out of imagery drawn from nature, at times mirroring the physical structures of the installation. A transparent scrim bisecting the gallery varies layers of moving images as they are visible from different points in the space. Projections both appear on the scrim and pass through it, painting the floor and one end of the gallery with distorted echoes of the main scenes. This transparency, along with creative coding mixing the video in real time, produces an endless unpredictably, mirroring both nature’s generativity and the layering our minds produce in dreams. A sound installation using three parabolic speakers that focus sound in specific regions of the gallery and a fourth “colony” of hand blown glass speakers reinforces the sense of entering ever more fully into our own biology and its entwinement with the natural world. Although Generativity was created in response to a particular installation space, I made the components with the idea that they could be reconfigured and reconceived to fit a range of exhibition conditions. I own all the equipment I used in the project.
Live performance with Isabelle Choiniere at Suyama Space. On November 19th, 2016 the installation Generativity was brought to life with a live performance of Phase5 with creator Isabelle Choiniere, performers Tahni Holt, Juju and Lisa Kusanagi, Eliza Larsen and Lu Yim. Live programming by Kevin McDonald and Karim Lahkdar. Video projections by Fernanda D'Agostino. Producer Fernanda D’Agostino and suyama Space
The Method of Loci is an example of how my installation work draws on different disciplines for its impact. The project takes the ancient mnemonic system “Ars Memoriae” as the inspiration to create an interactive environment about memory. My interest in creating a physical analogy for memory began with the study of Giulio Camillo’s Theater of Memory, famous during the Renaissance but an ephemeral work now faded from public awareness. That interest is paralleled by a recent revival of interest in “Ars Memoriae” among computer engineers studying memory. In the installation were three separate channels of interactive video running from three MacPro computers, and several other channels of video running as loops on media players that animated the entire 2,700-square-foot gallery space of The Art Gym near Portland, Oregon. The portable walls of the Gym and specially fabricated dual sided screen walls were used to divide the gallery into several distinct spaces that flowed into each other. Like the inner architecture of the “Ars Memoriae,” The Method of Loci had passageways, alcoves, rooms, hidden peepholes and niches. As viewers moved through darkened corridors into a series of rooms with various-scaled projections, the mood and scale changed. Programming in Max MSP Jitter and Arduino allowed the projections to respond differently to the presence of an attentive viewer than to a hurried passerby. As more attention was given, more layers of time were revealed. Some viewers spent hours exploring the space, reading the texts, climbing into a “Life Guard’s chair” for a different vantage point in one room, or listening to a recorded voice on an old fashioned dial telephone in another. The ancients found that the more dramatic the image the more lasting the memory. The video imagery chosen for The Method of Loci underscored the dramatic albeit fragile and flickering qualities of memory and reality. Years of field recording and recent work commissioned from dancer/choreographer Linda K. Johnson formed an archive of dramatic loops to mix and remix, placed strategically in the different rooms of the multi-chambered space. Underwater recordings, ancient texts, centuries old fire rituals in the Italian countryside, faces in attitudes of contemplation, migrating cranes, and a burning house are examples of the dreamlike imagery of “The Method of Loci.” The Method of Loci investigates ideas that have driven Western culture for millennia using cutting-edge 21st century technologies.
Mixed Media Installation with Interactive Video, 12’ x 14’ x 20’ Pool sets out to pair memory to place, drawing on the ancient mnemonic devices of the “Method of Loci.” A central image is choreographer, Linda Johnson, submerged underwater, looking directly back at the viewer as she contracts, glides, tumbles, and hovers in a watery amnion of blue. Interspersed are images of a full moon; a book that has caught fire; salmon swimming upstream; a burning house; botanical frescoes from the House of Livia ; and the words \"Ars Memoriae.\" The five channels of video combine and change in response to viewers presence and movement resulting in an open ended and shifting meaning. A viewer’s entry into the room initiates the program. Two motion sensors and two distance sensors select, mix and control four of the channels of video using custom software. The idea is to create an analogue for the idiosyncratic layering and juxtaposition that occurs in dreams, memories and stream of consciousness. Projection onto a seven foot in diameter aluminum pool creates an additional layer of depth. Viewers can get a different perspective on the installation from a five foot tall life guard chair. Pool investigates ancient ideas using 21st century technologies.
Portland State University Environmental Studies Professor John Reuter has called for the creation of new metaphors and the identification of characteristic patterns that will allow people to grasp the immensity of natural processes. In "Intellectual Ecosystem" the metaphor of the ecosystem is adapted as a way of capturing the intertwining strands of research and thought that characterize the modern university and its relationship to the city. Video projections on the glass façade of the University Academic and Student Recreation Center reinforce the University’s identity as an institution at the cutting edge of contemporary computer science and digital communication. The moving images animate the plaza, engaging both students and the public that passes through campus on the streetcar or that come to PSU for events, reinforcing the identity of PSU as a source of energy and activity in the city. A high powered projector controlled by a dual-graphic processor allows content to recombine in an endlessly variable program. One hundred preset transformations are available with the dual processor. Combined with creative video editing in Adobe Premiere and After Effects, the result is a constantly changing ephemeral display that both reflects the PSU community and juxtaposes images in a way that stimulates the creative connection of ideas. Reflecting the way ideas inform each other in a university community is a primary goal of "Intellectual Ecosystem." The University chose to focus all project resources on creating the largest possible Da-Lite Holoscreen display, on developing content and on providing the most possible variation in how the content combines and recombines. The projections rely only on editing and content for their effects. The overall look of the video has been crafted to fit the University’s desire to work with a large unified projection surface.
By Day a monumental sculpture of an abstracted navigational instrument acts as a landmark for the plaza uniting Sound Transit’s Airport Lightrail Station. At night the frosted glass surface of the sculpture becomes a projection screen for non narrative video, that includes segments on the science of bird flight, the cultures of the region and aerial cinematography retracing the journey of the "Wind Beings" recounted in a Native American creation myth.
The desire to see beneath the surface of things that artists and scientists share has led to parallel developments between the two disciplines throughout history. Observation and experimentation are at the heart of both fields, and because of that artists and scientists are natural allies. Recent developments in specialized digital imaging systems in both fields have created an unprecedented ability to unravel the codes underlying the beauty and mystery of nature. Video installation artist Fernanda D'Agostino and Biomechanist Dr. Bret Tobalske have formed an alliance to create work which exposes new developments in our understanding of the physics of flight to a wider audience. Motion Studies, investigates the intersection of Art and Science. The core of the project are actual motion studies from Dr. Bret Tobalske's wind tunnel at the flight lab at the University of Portland. These flight studies are then translated into video at the lab and in D'Agostino's studio. Motion Studies uses a fluid imaging system known as digital particle image velocimetry to examine the structure of the wake of flying birds. The power the flying bird puts into the air is revealed as a moving picture. The fluid dynamics of the air currents around the bird are made visible by the application of colors and grids that respond to the flow of air generated by the bird’s flight. At times this footage is a moving abstract painting, at other times the bird's flight is more explicit. Combined with these images, is footage of bird mating dances & flights, shot during the migration of cranes along the Columbia River., and of Vaux Swifts returning to their roosts during their annual migration. This footage, which was shot on location with a slow motion, high definition camera, has also been altered by digital particle velocimetry. An interesting development in the collaboration came about as a result of experimenting with the possibility of altering footage shot in the wild using digital particle image velocimetry. When the footage of the flocking swifts was processed we discovered that some of the same principals of Fluid Dynamics apply to the patterns of movement within the flock as apply to the air currents produced by individual birds. This is an area of inquiry we hope to pursue in the future. The possibility of new areas of scientific inquiry emerging from artistic experimentation is very exiting. A sound tract of digitally manipulated bird song accompanies the video. Motion Studies is also a video installation projected on sculptural screens. The footage is projected on a series of stainless steel and hand painted mylar "wings" suspended in the air. The wings respond to the slightest air current creating an analogue experience to Dr. Tobalske’s investigations of the role of air currents in birds flight. The video projections on translucent surfaces create an activated space that viewers can move around and through, giving them a physical experience of being "within the flock."
Motion Studies also included a second installation of blown glass sculptures evoking the fluid dynamic forms being investigated by many contemporary physicists, as well as scientific instruments and internal organs. These pieces were created in collaboration with scientific glass blower Carl Weiss of Weiss Scientific.
Single channel video combines moving exray video footage of a bird in flight with footage evoking threat.
"Theater Of Memory/Secret of Shadows." Cast and fabricated bronze, cast, fused and silk-screened glass, architectural elements (doors, benches, windows) video projections and electronics. 16'x16'x16' This project was based on the "Ars Memoriae" a system of mental architecture that allowed the ancients to create epic literary works, before the invention of writing. The system involved creating an ordered mental place such as a house or garden and storing memories within the architectural details of the place. Theater of Memory combines sculpture, artist’s books, architectural elements and video projections to enfold the viewer in a layered and constantly changing environment Viewers were encouraged to move about the space.
Imaging the Other Side: 1996 Mixed Media Installation, Wood, wax. Trees, horns, telephone, electronic sound system, salt, linen, steel, light. 17'x51'x16' A quote from Sigmund Freud inspired this project, "It is indeed impossible to imagine our own death, and whenever we attempt to do so we find we are still present as spectators." The project is a series of interconnected rooms each embodying another concept of the afterlife.
(From the Flintridge Fellowship Catalog)"Fate, a 1994 collaboration with filmmaker Kristy Edmunds, dealt with life-changing events, taking the Holocaust as a focus. At the heart of this installation was the diary of D'Agostino's husband's grandfather, in which the family's experience of Kristallnacht was described. The diary, veiled in wax, was placed on a stand-up writing desk beside a wax-covered suitcase,an arrangement mutely expressive of fear and flight,and of the human urge to bear witness to "lifes most terrible moments."
Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland, 1995 Oregon. 30,000 flowers, 65 birch trees and 3000 Portland school children's wishes, hopes and dreams written in their own hand on acetate strips hung from the trees. 250'x250'x20'high
Abundance and Scarcity was a half acre corn field with "Granary" wood, copper, bronze screen, glass, and a copper clad meditation house with grain floor. "Abundance and Scarcity also incorporated 35 copper stepping stones printed with sayings about food and hunger from cultures around the world, and other sculptural elements. Temporary project April 1993 to April 1994
I began working with interactivity as as early as 1986. In Bocca Al Lupo combined sculpture and interactive sound.
Early work in Performance Art as \"Irene.\"
© 2023 Fernanda D'Agostino