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  • Open Sesame Gallery 220 King Street West Kitchener, ON, N2G 1A9 Canada (map)

Over the course of a month, a simple machine will create a randomly-derived piece of artwork on a gallery wall. Watch the unpredictable movements of a pen in space create something completely new and wonderful.



Tristan Perich’s live machine drawings and works on paper explore texture, noise and order. They are created with a pen suspended from two motors, whose motion is controlled by code running on a circuit. The choreography of each drawing is programmed based on randomness and algorithms, then executed in physical space by the machine. The path of the pen, a continuous line comprised of thousands to millions of miniature movements, gradually builds the image. Simple geometric structures emerge from densely packed lines and random marks, as the linear repetition is woven back into itself, recursively. The final drawings are wedded to effects from the physical world: the ripple of the string connecting pen to motor, the gradual depletion of ink, the texture of the paper.

As the machine delicately travels and draws over a clean white wall at Open Sesame in the Kitchener Civic Square over the space of four weeks, one can wonder where the human artist ends and the machine takes over.

“The Machine Drawings—pen on paper or wall drawings executed by a machine that I designed and built—employ randomness and order as raw materials within a visual composition. I see randomness and order as occupying opposite ends of a continuous spectrum, and I use them to dictate the immediate motion of the pen. Varying levels of randomness—the probability the pen will change direction—produces the difference between straight lines or dense frenetic motion. While the motors' movements are the result of code executed precisely by machine, the final drawings come from the motion of pen on surface, and are wedded to effects from the physical world: the ripple of the string connecting pen to motor, the gradual depletion of ink, the texture of the paper. It is this balance between code and physics that excites me most, since the drawings couldn't be made without the code, and code needs to be realized in the physical world in order to be more than a set of instructions.”  

- Tristan Perich


Tristan Perich‘s (New York) work is inspired by the aesthetic simplicity of math, physics and code.

The WIRE Magazine describes his compositions as "an austere meeting of electronic and organic." 1-Bit Music, his 2004 release, was the first album ever released as a microchip, programmed to synthesize his electronic composition live. His latest circuit album, 1-Bit Symphony (Cantaloupe, 2010) has received critical acclaim, called "sublime" (New York Press), and the Wall Street Journal said "its oscillations have an intense, hypnotic force and a surprising emotional depth." His works for soloist, ensemble and orchestra have been performed internationally by ensembles including Bang on a Can, Calder Quartet, Eighth Blackbird at venues from the Whitney Museum and Mass MoCA to Sonar and Ars Electronica. He has received commissions from Bang on a Can, Meehan/Perkins Duo, Dither Quartet, Yarn/Wire, and others.


As a visual artist, Perich has had solo exhibitions at bitforms gallery (NYC), Mikrogalleriet (Copenhagen), Museo Carandente (Spoleto), The Addison Gallery (Massachusetts), Katonah Museum (New York), Monster Truck (Dublin), LEAP (Berlin) among others, as well as group shows around the world. His Machine Drawings, pen-on-paper drawings executed by machine, are described as "elegantly delicate" by BOMB Magazine.

Perich was a featured artist at Sonár 2010 in Barcelona, and in 2009, the Prix Ars Electronica awarded him the Award of Distinction for his composition Active Field (for ten violins and ten-channel 1-bit music). Rhizome awarded him a 2010 commission for Microtonal Wall, an audio installation with 1,500 speakers. Perich attended the first Bang on a Can Summer Institute in 2002. He was artist in residence at Issue Project Room in 2008, at Mikrogalleriet in Copenhagen in 2010, at the Addison Gallery in Andover, MA and Harvestworks in New York in Fall 2010, and at the Watermill Center in 2012. His work has received support from New York State Council on the Arts, the American Music Center, Meet the Composer and others. He has spoken about his work and taught workshops around the world.

Perich studied math, music and computer science at Columbia University, and received a masters in from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU.

Later Event: May 28