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Erik Carlson

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Mediums: Experimental / Multi-Media, Interactive, Lighting, Sculpture, Video

Artist's Work

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Artist's Bio


I am a media artist, composer and architect whose work is particularly interested in the ways we interact with our built and natural environments. I use sound, video and light as interpretive elements, examining the ways they interact with us in the spaces we occupy, tracking movement and activity in the public realm. I also place a great emphasis on searching out hidden or forgotten details around us: by bringing these elements to the fore, we gain a new understanding of both ourselves and the values we place on our physical surroundings.

I strive to create public works that offer a fulfilling passive viewer experience yet also invite deeper engagement through the incorporation of movement, multi-media elements and interactivity. Our surroundings are dynamic, and our relationship to them multi-faceted, and likewise a successful public art installation will provide a range of paths for engagement.

As an artist and architect I frequently collaborate with community groups and specialists to develop projects that directly communicate with the public, incorporating local history, specialized research, and knowledge of use patterns and environments. My recently completed “Cloud Seeding” project for the Denver Public Library uses custom software to create an ever-shifting, layered video representation of the library’s daily usage. “Cloud Seeding’s” content is drawn in real time from the library’s collections and triggered by patron’s search inquiries. It was created through close work with the library staff, a week-long residency, and community input that allowed patrons to submit favorite book quotes, movie scenes, etc.  I am also currently working closely with NASA Space Grant scientists to create an audio installation based on the geologic formation of the moon.

With 17 years work as an architect, I have regularly collaborated with diverse project teams during all phases of project development and execution. These include include green building projects using recycled highway materials (Big Dig House [with SsD Architecture], winner of Metropolis Magazine’s Next Generation Prize), and design and construction of multi-million dollar public arts facilities (Center for the Arts at the Armory in Somerville, MA).


To realize my public installations, I partner with experienced fabricators and programmers who bring the expertise to artistically incorporate technology throughout the design and fabrication process. Together with these professionals, I will develop a technically advanced and aesthetically superior project for the city of Memphis.  In addition to these proven collaborators, I also strive to utilize local fabricators and artisans in the execution of my public art installations. Funding for public art work most often comes directly from the community, so it is very important to me to try and filter a significant portion of those funds back to local businesses. Most importantly, I have learned that local collaborators take a deep interest in such projects and provide me with invaluable insight into the community itself.