Home Chapter 14 Artist's examples

Site Search


Chinese (Simplified) French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish
Artist's examples

The media artist Kate Jones has created a work Manifest Destiny (2001) that uses material and motion to communicate greater concerns about the relation of one culture to another. She used the songs of the Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) and the Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) to allude to larger social concerns about manifest destiny. The Wood Thrush is more common in Eastern North American forests and the Hermit Thrush in forests in Western North America. The Wood Thrush is the dominant bird here and is slowly expanding its territory across North America, often pushing the Hermit Thrush out of its native territory.


Manifest Destiny by Kate Jones. 2001. Photos by Amy Youngs.


These interspecies territory wars become a metaphor for the larger issues of the displacement of the Native Americans as the European settlers encroached on Indian land. The artist selected the wagon wheel carefully to suggest the notion of manifest destiny, and both turkeys and thrushes are sacred to the Native Americans.

The bird song of the less aggressive Hermit Thrush plays when the wheel is still, and as the song of the more aggressive Wood Thrush comes forth, the wheel slowly speeds up, allowing the natural lift of the feathers to raise them in the air. The stones on the underside of the work allude to Native American rituals.

For Jones, this work was an evolution of ideas to find materials and sounds that would communicate her message with subtlety. As with natural systems, your artwork will evolve and change as you come to understand what you are trying to say and you should welcome and expect the evolution of your idea, as well as how your idea is communicated in form may and action.


The work will evolve, and you should allow time to think about the special capabilities that a microprocessor can provide. Activated or interactive objects, where input and programmed output to some installation, device, or mechanical objects that unify the control system with your custom program and concept is your concern here.

Emphasis on the concept. Look for elegant materials that will help to express your ideas by playing with existing cultural dialogues, which surround and are associated with those materials. Think how the form will change and modify the work.


Homo indicium by Yianni Yessios. 2004.  His work stimulated issues of information privacy, identity theft, collecting or mining of information, and even hinted at DNA cloning issues -due to the collection of hair from participants. He used bar code scanner to allow viewers access to the date on each sample


The robotic theorist Hans Moravec says “And true creative work is shaped more by upwelling from the deep than by overt procedure.” Look to your ideas. http://www.frc.ri.cmu.edu/users/hpm/project.archive/robot.papers/2000/puddle.html

Try and think about the sensual aspects of the material world and how this has an impact on you and your emotions on a daily basis. Why does the flower excite your nose? Why do we enjoy petting a dog? Think about the sensation of meeting a new animal for the first time and not being sure if the pet is friendly or not. Think how the sensation of meeting the animal and petting the animal involves tactility and time.