The "Other" PS1

In art circles, "PS1" is a center for contemporary art in NYC. Here in the Chi-town maker community, "PS1" is short for Pumping Station: One, Chicago's oldest and largest makerspace. I've been an active member of this "other" PS1 for several years now, and I've been working on ways to both encourage and harness the community spirit that it nurtures. So I'm creating work that draws on the community model of the quilting bee, updated for an electronic age.

My circuit-knit "quilt" project started with a stack of my freshly knit circuit boards and a solder party armed with wire cutters and hot chisel tips. Afterwards, though, there was still much work to be done, and that's when a few PS1 volunteers stepped up for the long haul.

Motivated by an interest in electronics, the community of a group project, a desire to support the arts, or just straight-up generosity, Jay Hopkins, Peter, and Bandit put in some crazy hours soldering and troubleshooting the 896 LEDs, resistors, transistors, capacitors, and jumper wires that drive the piece. (For the tech curious, it's 56 flip flop circuits wired in parallel, aka blinking lights.)

PS1's vice president (and resident photographer), Everett Wilson, captured one of our late-night solder sessions. Was this the night we stayed til 4am? I can't even remember.

The finished work, Electronic Damask, is stretched on a 6'x3' frame custom built by another PS1 member and volunteer, Ray Doeksen. It's in the show No-Fi, which opens at Chicago Artists Coalition tonight, October 24, 6-9pm.