The art of carnival rides
Share with others:
This is a biweekly series about art and artists in the region. Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts serves the community through arts education, exhibitions and artist resources. For more information: www.pittsburgharts.org or www.pghfilmmakers.org.
Video artist Aaron Henderson has a simple explanation for his choice of subject matter: "Carnivals are fun!" His most recent projects examine human action -- from intimate gestures to grand displays of acrobatics.
Currently an assistant professor in the Studio Arts Department at the University of Pittsburgh, Mr. Henderson worked for STREB Extreme Action, an acrobatic performance company, from 2002-06, doing flips and falling off platforms.
One of his video works, "Midway," is created from footage and images captured at carnivals and fairs. The multichannel videos are carefully edited to highlight the movements and reactions riders have to the change in G-force.
The creation of this video project was a yearlong process involving scouting for the best locations, gathering the right kind of equipment and getting permits. Planning and testing are an extensive part of the process.
"I have camera mounts for Formula One race cars," Mr. Henderson explains. "With the help of engineers and ride operators I mount the cameras to the rides using safety straps." After the rides are tested with the camera equipment, Mr. Henderson spends the day capturing the action. ("I had to re-charge my batteries in the cotton candy booth," he remembers.)
Viewers get to feel the excitement of a summer carnival, going along on rides with names such as Pharaoh's Fury, Gravitron and Feuerball. Mr. Henderson's "Midway" is one of eight solo exhibits on view at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside.
Mr. Henderson has two pieces of advice for teenagers who want to create video art. First, find things you are interested in. "My interests tend toward the theatrical and spectacular in society," he says. But your options are limitless.
And second, "Take your time. Stop, look, observe, think, examine what is around you, stand still for a while, be attentive."
You can see examples of Mr. Henderson's art on his website: www.aaronhenderson.com.
First Published February 22, 2011 12:00 am