Alan Rath

Rocketry and Rock

As a child growing up in the U.S. during the 1960’s, I was constantly exposed to two dominant strains of contemporary art of the era: rocketry and rock. The exemplary practitioners of the respective crafts are NASA and Jimi Hendrix. Both art forms were rapidly evolving in the late 60’s and reached their zenith during the summer of 1969. NASA’s unequaled conceptual art project comprised a walk on the moon during July of 1969. Hendrix made his iconic appearance at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair during the following month. Both artists were laying the groundwork for the emerging field of electronic art.
The widely divergent artistic approaches of Hendrix and NASA help illuminate the richness of this then new medium. As a teenager I quickly determined that I would never be a musician or a performer, but I was intrigued by the potential of electronics to enable a new kind of kinetic sculpture. I formally studied the new medium at a U.S. art institute on the east coast before moving to the west coast to be near California’s fertile Silicon Valley. For more than 20 years I have been building and exhibiting my own autonomous electronic systems. I build all of my mechanical, electronic, and software systems from scratch.