New Madbutter Installation Opposite MoMA

I’ve just put up a new piece I am very excited about called “pretty ugly” in the windows of the old Donnell Library building on 53rd St between 5th and 6th Avenues, opposite the Museum of Modern Art. Like the Lexington and 33rd St installation, this is done through the arts organization Chasama. This piece inaugurates their use of this building as an exhibition space, which has been empty since an aborted deal by a hotel developer to take over the site and rebuild the library into the lower floors. The Donnell Library is much missed as a NYC cultural institution, but at least Chasama has found away to keep the location in the cultural service of the people of New York and I am happy to be apart of this.

prettyugly from madbutter on Vimeo.

This new piece is a triptych: there are three 6′x4′ LED video panels each in its own window bay. For the content I filmed close-ups of children who were prompted to make faces conveying certain random moods or expressions. Two layers of this video are simultaneously displayed on the panels and users can interactively manipulate rectangular “holes” in the top layer to reveal the video below, creating a “hybrid portrait” of a hybrid person with a hybrid expression. The work was inspired by some playing around I was doing with the Exquisite Corpse idea, the surrealist parlor game that has been re-purposed in a variety of different form and media over the years and by the (not unrelated) musical mash-up scene. In both these forms there is an interesting tension between the mind’s simultaneous recognition of the autonomous integrity of the elements and its attempt to cognitively reconcile them into a new cohesive composition.

The work is also multi-user and collaborative: participants interacting with the two outside panels change the color tinting of the layers and can remix the portrait combinations by scrolling the images horizontally. The composition on the display is therefore at any given moment the cumulative state of the piece after purposeful or exploratory interaction from random people passing by. The resulting juxtapositions of faces and their expressions – whether the effect is startling, comical, bizarre, endearing, incongruous, or harmonious – are the sum consequences of this interaction.

Madbutter Rocks Bklyn Designs


Madbutter had a fantastic time at the 2010 Bklyn Designs show on May 7th-9th. The show was well-attended, there was a lot of nice work by a bunch of great designers, artists, artisans and craftspeople, and my booth was full the whole time. Sometimes too full! Attendees who wanted some hands-on time interacting with the panels had to run a gantlet of a dozen high-spirited youngsters who were absolutely addicted to rolling around on the floor panel. Seriously, someone needs to put one of these in a Children’s Museum if not in every daycare center in the country!

I had lots of good interaction with thoughtful and supportive people in the design business as well as ordinary civilians. And got lots of good press, too. Every blog I saw that covered the show wrote something favorable about my booth and I got mentioned as one of the top highlights of the show dozens of times. Favorite design blogs like Apartment Therapy and Design Sponge covered me, as did the Wall St Journal (and here), NY1, and the Daily News. The latter published a big spread about Madbutter in the print addition with a big juicy photo. Also PSFK, a culture and technology trend spotting site I highly recommend.

Here is a youtube vid:

Madbutter @ Bklyn Designs


I am thrilled to be selected to show off my work at an exhibition I have always loved and attended for meany years. Bklyn Designs, which will open to the public from May 7th to 9th, 2010, showcases the best of new design coming out of our illustrious borough.
Save the date!

xtraboneless replaces semiboneless

Semiboneless has now been up for over a month on Lexington and 33rd so I thought that I would update the software. I’m still working with a similar look of an abstract stripe animation but have altered the way the pattern is manipulated by user interactivity. The effect is much more psychedelic! There are 5 different modes that you will cycle through as you interact with the piece. I call the new piece “xtraboneless”. Some images:

And here is the video:

xtraboneless from madbutter on Vimeo.

semiboneless is UP AND RUNNING!

Come and see our new Sensacell interactive video art installation at Lexington and 33rd St in NYC.

For more information about this installation please email Madbutter.

semib01