Axle Contemporary

- August 31, 2012

“On the road again…”

Well, actually, Axle Contemporary is always on the road – that’s the whole point, isn’t it? You’ve seen it parked around town – the step-in delivery truck that Jerry Wellman moves from place to place in an art gallery version of a moveable feast.  My only trouble is finding where he has parked Axle Contemporary on any given day. Maybe he should launch an online game and call it “Where in the World is Axle Contemporary”, much like “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego” or produce a cartoon – “Finding Nemo (Axle).” Another idea: If the City has been required to publish, in advance, where their speed-trap SUVs are on any given day and must also put a temporary sign well in advance of those Orwellian monsters; perhaps Pasa could do the same for Axle. I don’t think you would find any night-shirt-clad yahoos putting five or six slugs into Axle Contemporary in the middle of the night, either.  As always, Axle Contemporary is worth finding because of the show it contains at any given moment and you really can find their location on their website. I just thought I might suggest some other creative ways to do so.

The upcoming show begins on September 16 and runs for two weeks, until the 30. Titled, “We Are Experiencing Some Turbulence,” it is an installation by Michael Schippling, a study for a larger show of the same name.  It is also hard to describe in a short blog, especially when I have taken up so much space with my own ranting, but here goes with something from their press release.

“‘We Are Experiencing Some Turbulence’ is a site specific installation by Santa Fe bricoleur Michael Schippling in our mobile gallery. It comprises a truck full of small objects which move in what might, or might not, be random patterns. Proximity sensors allow the viewer to exercise some control over the motion so it becomes a meditation on our ability to distinguish the random from the regular.”

And this, from Schippling’s Blog describing his installation-in-process: “The idea is that there are sensors on the back of the truck which affect how long-and-strong the fans are on -- blowing stuff around -- inside. However the response to the sensors is not always 1::1, i.e., Mr. Turbulence is moody. Sometimes he gets over-excited and at other times he is asleep. He does however always respond to a new input (person wandering around) in some way, so we know he's not completely broken...

“There are four sensors on the back of the truck. One is a PIR—porch light motion sensor—which detects hot moving objects within a range of 10 or 20 feet. The other three are IR distance sensors that are good around one to five feet. So the system gets a signal when someone is nearby and then much stronger directional signals when they are close to the back window.”

Schippling is so much better at describing his work than I am. Check out more at

I am so THERE – wherever “there” might be.

Here are some dates and locations for Axle sightings:
• OPENING: Sunday, September 16,  AHA Festival in the Santa Fe Railyard, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
• Friday, September 21, Re:Mike,  St. Michael’s Drive, Santa Fe
• Sunday, September 23,  ISEA 2012-Albuquerque Downtown Block Party
• Tuesday, September 25,  ISEA-Santa Fe, IAIA (AM), SFUAD/Railyard (PM)