May 2nd: The first day
Yesterday marked the first official day of the two-month residency period at Gallery Titanik in Turku, Finland. It is a double honor to be invited here this spring and to be their first artist in residence.
It was a sunny and windy morning. Sanna and Mailis greeted me at the gallery and introduced me to the rest of the staff. After taking a tour of the studio and exhibit space, we decided that it would much easier to get around town with a bike than a skateboard.
Sanna and Mailis and I walked to a second-hand shop in town and purchased a hot pink and black bicycle with a blue front tire.
I’m now cruising around Turku in style. As we descended down a hill Mailis mentions to me that her “Pony” brand bicycle has unreliable brakes and therefore acquired the name “Killer Pony”. I wonder what nickname I will give my bicycle.
After the 1 o’ clock gallery board meeting, Sanna introduced me to the members of the committee and we go to lunch in a vegetarian restaurant/boat stationed along the river…After lunch, we cross the river via ferry (Fori) and proceed towards the Ammattikorkeakoulu (the Turku University of Applied Sciences.)
In search for skateboarders…
We locate two skateboard spots: one near the university, (an large and flat rectangle-shaped plaza area with stairs and ledges)
…and the other, an indoor skatepark near a fragrant smelling water-pipe factory called the “Cube.”
Our third and last stop is Kuppis Kupitaa, a large recreational park with sport facilities, a water park and soccer fields. Among the whipping gusts of wind and dust, we finally locate a BMX and skateboard area outside the park and befriend the local ten year-old skateboarders.
After trying out the ramps, the kids are impressed. As we say goodbye, they ask for autographs. It was a long and complete day… and only the first of many more to come…
The second day was spent working on the skateboard mechanics. I’m using special skateboard wheels which emit light as they rotate, creating just the right conditions for triggering sound. By mounting a photo-resistor(light sensor) near the skateboard wheel, the sensor receives the varying differences in light levels and it transfers them into data.
This data is then interpreted into a software program triggering the pitch of a MIDI sound file. In this case it was file was” bird chirps,” but it sounded more like electric static. Nevertheless, it was fun rolling around the studio floor on lighted wheels.