Borderline/Peace Movements    
  Borderline/Peace Movements This project was initiated and led by Collective Action Studio in San Francisco. In 2018 the project presented participatory video projection art at Untitled Art Fair on the facade of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. At the Untitled Art Fair a mobile projection unit called “The Grasshopper” utilized live video feeds to place the body of the audience, viewer and of the live performer, Jaleesa Johnston back into the video being fed to the facade projections. This work then also captured participants' movements and gestures around the theme of "Mudras". The video captured live on site was further integrated into prerecorded imagery of environmental crisis, performance centered on generational trauma, and the language of gesture in a range of cultures. Featured artists at The Unitled Art Fair included, Fernanda D'Agostino, Jaleesa Johnson Tra Bouscaren Peace Movements/Mudras is a movement project led by Justin Charles Hoover and Collective Action Studio. I worked with Collective Action Studio on video production, editing and live interactive programming for the culminating public events of the ten-week residency. Guillermo Galindo provided an original sound track.  In partnership with Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco and Chinatown Community Development Center, funded by San Francisco Arts Commission IAC program, Peace Movements explores the contradictions of martial arts or performance art as a form of physically embodying peace, and looks to artists to explore how they use the martial arts or movement arts as a way to resist cultural expectations. This series also developed a performative movement language that culminated in a series of live performances with artists Justin Hoover, Yunuen Rhi and Featherpistol.

Video: Borderline/Peace Movements/Mudras

Video: Borderline/Peace Movements/Palace of Fine Arts
  Borderline/Mapping deployed projection mapping along with live coding to create an immersive installation in the public lobby of a busy video production studio at Open Signal PDX. Borderline/Mapping breaks apart the component elements of the Borderline project and maps them onto the architecture of a public place frequented by all kinds of people. Like a deck of tarot cards, each individual loop of content holds meaning. As they are mixed in real time via creative coding different associations can be made. At times the nine-channel mix is predominantly scenes of nature and feels more hopeful; at other times a sense of foreboding emerges as scenes of disasters driven by climate change and ominous government surveillance video dominate the map.

Video: Borderline/Mapping
  Borderline/Decameron exhibited at Disjecta, looks back at the polarization brought about during an earlier period where the world seemed to be coming to an end, the Black Plague of the late middle ages and early Renaissance. What I was interested in with this piece was not so much the plague itself but how half the society, as exemplified in Boccaccio's Decameron,-was challenging every societal piety and norm, while the other half was clinging ever more tightly to established doctrine and not only burning books and works of art that challenged the establishment, but even burning people who expressed what seemed to be heretical views. In Boccaccio’s story cycle, set during the first outbreak of the plague in Florence, a group of seven women and three men escaped into the countryside. Each night for ten nights each of them told a story. These stories questioned every dogma of the time. This is the frame for Boccaccio’s Decameron which is to this day considered one of the most transgressive literary works ever produced. During times of crisis some retreat into pieties and some question everything. Borderline/Decameron aims to revisit that spirit of questioning and rebellion in a contemporary setting. Mirroring the social construct and framework of Boccaccio’s tales, Borderline/Decameron also included an evening of guided story telling around dinner tables, focusing on stories of migration and facilitated by an artist made story telling card deck, and a cohort of guides representing the growing diversity of the city. This card game and our evening together recreated some of that same spirit of openness and interrogation, leading both to uncomfortable moments and to shared warmth and laughter.

Video: Borderline/Decameron
  Borderline/InBody collaboration (Jaleesa Johnston, Sophia Wright Emigh, Fernanda D’Agostino) began in Open Signal PDX’s Future Forum program. We share an interest in the body as a site of memory and in how generational trauma manifests in hidden ways within our flesh. Our work draws upon dance, performance art, interactive video programming, and participatory installation, to create a charged landscape choreographed for exploration. Our personal histories of generational trauma based in historic events, and our group’s heterogeneity (in age, race, sexual orientation/identity, and career stage) has made the collaborative relationship particularly rich and productive. In/Body marries technology and live movement to explore the cyclical nature of simultaneously invoking and healing ancestral trauma through the body. Our shared interests in body memory and video’s potential to both collapse and expand time and space locate In/Body within an interdisciplinary and experimental line of inquiry within the field of performance and movement. In/Body’s exploration of trauma, ancestry and cycles occurs through a process that reflects and embraces the unknown. Creating movement that responds to the unpredictable mixing of images through Isadora software, the limitless shift within the performance mirrors the ways in which we process traumatic events within daily life. In/Body changes constantly, and this fluidity reflects the complexities of memory and various ways of accessing collective and personal trauma through time and in the immediate experience of the body

video: In/Body/Decameron

video: In/Body/TheMapIsNotTheTerritory
Borderline/The Map is not the Territory    
  Borderline/The Map is not the Territorycreated for the atrium of the Portland Art Museum is the culmination of the Borderline series. At PAM the installation uses two transparent 17-foot-wide scrims and a floor projection to create a monumentally scaled interactive environment choreographing museum visitors’ explorations of the work. Because of the transparency and scale of the scrims, the projections were replicated over multiple surfaces animating the entire 1700 square foot volume of the atrium. Content was developed through research with open source footage of government surveillance video, of the U.S border, of refugees on the Mediterranean and European footage of their land borders during the crisis in former Yugoslavia. Parallel research investigated U.S. Forest Service scientific imaging of fire behavior and climate monitoring footage from NOAA.Live performance footage investigating generational memory, developed in collaboration with Jaleesa Johnston and Sophia Wright Emigh, completes the content of the piece. Mirror neurons are the empathy machine in humans. The sight of figures within the projections, activates a different quality of responsiveness for viewers and dissolves the separateness too frequently experienced when others are in crisis. In addition to the performance footage, video cameras place viewers in scenes of surveillance at borders around the world, as a way of making us remember we are all implicated and affected by these scenes of catastrophe or dystopia Through creative coding, a series of forty-two scenes, combining video and audio loops with a range of filters and effects, randomly dissolve into each other. Like thoughts coming in and out of focus, this randomization mimics the “stream of consciousness” flow of time vital for creating a liminal space inviting exploration. Initially an investigation of the intersection of climate change, mass migration and government surveillance, ultimately Borderline refers not as much to our current geographical border issues (although that’s in there) as to tipping points between harmony and chaos in the environment and in society, and also to individual psychological tipping points between empathy, and fear.

video: Borderline/TheMapIsNotTheTerritory
  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. These related definitions all seemed germane to Suyama Space and its history as an engine of creative growth. The precarious state of the natural world was also 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 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 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 marvel I felt collecting them. More than anything I want viewers to experience the 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 the layers of moving images visible from different positions 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.

video: Generativity
Generativity; Phase 5 Performance    
  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.

video:Generativity; Phase 5 Performance
The Method of Loci    
  My recent project is an example of how my installation work draws on different disciplines for its impact. The Method of Loci, takes the ancient system “Ars Memoriae” as the inspiration to create an interactive environment about memory. This version of the installation video documentation gives a more complete look at the overall installation, while the video is a bit more abbreviated. 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. 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 Giard’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 imagery chosen for The Method of Loci imagery 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.

video: The Method of Loci

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.

video: Pool

Intellectual Ecosystem    
  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.

video: Intellectual Ecosystem
Color Theory
  Color Theory
Color Theory is one of thirty six vignettes created for Portland State University’s permanent video installation “Intellectual Ecosystem.”

video: Color Theory
Celestial Navigation    
  Celestial Navigation; 2009
SoundTransit, SeaTac Airport Plaza, SeaTac Washington
Stainless Steel and Glass Quadrant Sculpture;
Screen/Sculpture Dimensions: Height 18’ Width 9’ Depth; 5’
Custom Engineered Audio Visual System and Projector;

67 Minute long, non narrative video

Site Integrated Plaza design with Terrazzo and Bronze Paving inlays (City Block)

video: Celestial Navigation
Motion Studies
Installation Footage

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”.

video: Motion Studies Installation Footage


Motion Studies    
  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”.

video: Motion Studies
Living Calligraphy-Yichang    
Living Calligraphy combines digitally manipulated sound and video shot on location in Hubei Province, China with digital particle velocimetry analysis of flying birds. It is an impressionistic memory of my time in China in summer 2008.

video: Living Calligraphy-Yichang
© 2020 Fernanda D'Agostino