Practical Magic is an online interview series with early and mid-career creatives. Through a selection of prompts we spotlight each person’s practice and (hopefully) prove art world creatives are the real influencers of today.
interview with: CIRCULADIUM
new media artist duo
For the month of August, each twice-weekly PM interview will be with a selected artist from our 3rd Open Call Exhibition Celestial Opera, Human Cathedrals. Today’s feature is with artist duo Circuladium, whose two piece mixed media work Twins is on view for the exhibition. The work is a touch-sensitive sound/sculpture installation that we were very excited to select and include. While we can’t bring the physical work to our network, a documentation video shared by the duo is viewable on the online show page to get a taste of the experience. About Circuladium:
Circuladium is a new media artist duo formed by Jonathan Grover and Hui-Ying Tsai in 2018 and operates out of their studio in Brooklyn, New York. Hui and Jonathan each received an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute where they met. The group experiments with technologies and materials to create interactive works that reinforce the connection between material and spirit through the human body. Their inspiration comes from literature, symbolism, and humans' relationship to nature.
It’s been inspiring to research the texts and historical Taiwanese architecture that Hui is influenced by in their collective practice, among others. Along with some of their TV show recommendations, this Practical Magic is full of inspo nuggets!
PP: What are you listening to in your studio or when you work?
C: Hui listens to podcasts such as Invisibilia, Cults, Hidden Brain, 1619, This American Life, and The Daily. Jon often listens to electronic music, or the sounds he is composing which recently are nature sounds and field recordings.
PP: Where do you live and how does it affect your practice/career? What's the creative community like there?
C: We live and work in Bushwick, Brooklyn. It is a very open-minded community. Local galleries are diverse ranging from high-brow white cube work, to gritty visceral performance art, to folk art and craft. It is a stimulating environment that has helped us form long lasting friendships and working relationships with other artists. Space here is limited and expensive, this can inspire creative changes and affected the scale of our works which must either be disassembled or scaled down to fit through our studio door. Artist residencies have been important for us to gain access to specialized equipment and to create larger works that would not have fit in our Brooklyn studio.
PP: What is a typical day in the life for you as creatives? How do you structure your day/week to manage your practice?
C: Mornings are spent with coffee in hand catching up on administrative tasks. A couple days a month this time is spent researching and applying for grants and new opportunities. Jon spends a half day teaching or working as a software engineer. Afternoons and evenings are spent in the studio. Studio time gives us a chance to work on new pieces and experiment with concepts and technology that may become part of a future work. We both have our own separate art practices in the studio, and at times there is an organic overlap where we can see how our work can fit together for a new piece. Largely deadlines for proposals and shows determine what gets accomplished first.
PP: Who or what are major influences for you right now and why?
C: Hui having grown up on the Island of Taiwan references the ocean, sea creatures, and Taiwans’ architecture in her work. Hui also draws from themes in the Buddhist scripture The Diamond Sutra, and the book The Divine Horsemen - The Living Gods of Haiti, as well as other folklore. Jon draws inspiration from nature, animals, and the study of human universals, and psychoacoustics.
PP: What is the next big milestone you've set for yourselves? How close to achieving it are you?
C: We are working on a new body of work that uses water and the human body as an electrical conductor to bridge the physical and the metaphysical. When the audience touches the water in a ceramic vessel the sculpture resonates with sound and the space comes to life. We have done several tests and are refining the technology and sounds that the participant experiences. We are excited to display this work this winter in Taiwan at the PAIR residency in Kaohsiung.
Check out the original interview page link to discover more creative minds!