Media Arts, Visual Arts
Artist StatementJoe Reinsel Artist Statement When I was young, I listened more than I spoke. It wasn’t because of training or culture; I think it was the television. Early in my life, that piece of technology was a teacher and mentor and the sounds and visuals from it satisfied a need for connection. In spite of the TV’s important role, I was only an observer of what was happening in front of me. I felt the need to interact with it and be part of it in some way. From the moment my brother and I peeled the red and green wrapping paper from an ATARI game system, everything changed. At that point, I took charge of the TV, using the controller to elicit the desired responses. From shooting space aliens to a quest for a golden chalice, I had a new way to talk to the TV. At 13, I began to play drums and percussion and started to find a new language for communication. In high school, I started to compose music and play drums in a rock band. I saw music in a new way: I could compose music for conventional instruments and non-conventional objects that made sounds like automobile brake drums, bits of metal, and parts of the human body. I never limited myself to a specific sound palette, but rather remained open to hearing new things that could be used to make music. Later, I found new technologies that allowed me to create and respond to visuals and sound in real-time so I could compose a piece and also experience it. The first was MAX/MSP and a video component called NATO. These two pieces of software allowed me to express my compositional ideas through video and sound as if they were physical instruments. The software became a conduit for my thoughts, and every work I produced used it in some way. When I discovered the software Jitter, I improved my work enormously with live-processed 3-dimensional modeling, animation, and net based connections to other performers. Sometimes one needs to be wary of how the technology restricts the development of an artistic work, but MAX/MSP/Jitter has allowed me to fully express my ideas openly without confining prescription from the software. Another part my growth as an artist was making works that included interaction between people and objects. By making works that the audience could take on a role in the work I was no longer the lone performer of my pieces; the audience became a co-performer, interacting with the pieces and with me. For those moments, we all existed within a system I created, the stage in the theater and the interest of the audience members. We each wanted something from one another until the piece finished. Interactivity regularly becomes part my process even though I have changed media or technologies. The root of the work remains either between a person and the computer or between two or more people this will develop into future pieces, interactive systems and game environments. My interests also are connected to working with community groups on art. The art work that I have created connects to the public and in the last 7 years it has primarily existed in public space. My experience in community based art and collaboration is based in listening, consulting, and collaborating on ideas along with finishing the project goals that are developed. I have worked in teams and on my own in these endeavors so my experience in collaboration is extensive. I am interested in engaging with audiences of diverse populations by trying to find ways to connect the audience to ideas in the art work by either allowing them to engage or interact with the creative work or I directly engage the audience in the creative process. I have worked in a many different populations, including community groups, undergraduates, and graduate students in a variety of environments in Flint, MI, Baltimore, MD, Troy NY, Compton, CA, and Quito, Ecuador. Each one of these urban areas have great strengths and needs from economic depression to mental health stress to physical and health related issues. Also, I have worked with city officials in the City of Flint, Flint Public Art Project, Ruth Mott Foundation, the Office of Outreach and the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research at the University of Michigan-Flint to create ways for college students students and the community to connect and engage in art in the public space. Looking at the trajectory that I took to where I am now, when I was young and watching TV, I wanted to be a part of it. Now when I make new works I want the audience to be part of it.
Joe Reinsel uses media, video, and sound to explore ideas about architectural space, time, and touch. His creative work continues to considers interaction and the environment and each work investigates different facets of communication such as video work for public installation, collective storytelling, and interactive exhibitions. He is the recipient of grants from The Flint Public Art Project, International Society of Electronic Arts, Maryland State Arts Council,Baltimore Museum of Art, New York State Council for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Baltimore City Office of Promotion and the Arts, and University of Michigan among others. Also he has presented work in thirteen countries on four continents at venues such as Museum of Contemporary Art(Chile), Corcoran Gallery of Art, Ars Electronica, Centro Cultural São Paulo (Brazil), Centro Cultural de España(Mexico), ZeroOne, and SIGGRAPH.