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Patrick Ethen debuts “Field Condition” Solo Exhibition X Detroit Month of Design on September 7th

Field Condition is a hyper-sensory art exhibition that centers around a body of ephemeral, immersive light sculptures by artist and designer Patrick Ethen.

He uses light as a medium to explore emergent behavior, using meticulously wired arrays of electronics to build installations which envelop the viewer in a meditative, immersive aura which feels simultaneously human and artificial, analog and digital.

Describing his practice as a sort of “pseudo-spiritual techno-futurism,” Ethen’s work is a commentary on the role of technology and its influence on society. The various works on view in his upcoming exhibition follow small, simple rules that together reveal a complexity reminiscent of real world phenomena, like shimmering evening shadows, or the churning tide of the sea. Lights pulse and patterns ripple across vibrant, glowing planes- these time-based pieces are meant to envelop, to seduce, to enthrall. The real site of this art, Ethen says, “is the projection on the back of your retina, and exists primarily in your mind.

Detail view of Rising Tides

“The title of the exhibition, “Field Condition” relates to the process of pattern recognition and multiplicity, whereby a quantity of singular objects are read as larger surfaces and topographies- think of the ocean, made up of countless individual drops but perceived as crashing waves. This fluctuation between individual and collective is a common thread throughout the work, and particularly visible in “Rising Tides,” which creates a static, glowing image of the water’s surface using thousands of hand-wired LEDs. 

Rising Tides, 8906 LEDs, 48 x 84 inches, 2018, Patrick Ethen.

One of the works Ethen is most excited about is “Spirit Mirror,” an interactive piece which appears to follow the viewer as they move, creating the illusion that the piece is reflecting one’s own personal aura. The experience is simultaneously spooky and beautiful.

With his art, Ethen is calling us out for being the technology junkies we are, asking us to draw the line between sedation and transcendence. Are we like moths- drawn to a flame, enveloped in a digital rapture while the world crumbles around us?

Patrick Ethen is a light artist and designer, known for installations which explore the production of emergent behavior, the relationship between analog and digital systems, and the role of the human hand in a digital age.

Purchase tickets here. $10 suggested donation for entry.

Detroit Month of Design

To honor Detroit’s designation as a UNESCO City of Design, we are recognizing the entirety of September as Detroit’s Month of Design. Programmed by Design Core, Detroit Month of Design is a citywide celebration of creativity that gathers designers and the greater community to celebrate Detroit’s role as a national and global design capital.

Every September, partners across Detroit—from emerging studios to established companies and educational institutions—come together to show off their latest works and ideas. These cross-disciplinary events take place in all corners of the city, highlighting the talent and innovation that makes Detroit a UNESCO City of Design.

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