Appleton artist Dave Razor works with new media, sound and artificial intelligence (AI) to create interactive works of art. His immersive experiences challenge the passive viewer relationship of traditional art by asking viewers to impact and influence the finished product.
Razor has exhibited work at art shows and nonprofit events throughout the Fox Valley. His light wall installation at Catalyst, an art event held at Appleton’s 222 building last year, required the viewer’s touch to trigger sound and colored lights displayed on a giant nylon screen. For Catalpa Health’s Pop! fundraiser, Razor projected animations on nine 13-by-9 foot transparent sheets of fabric that attendees could walk through.
“It pushes people to experience [art] actively instead of being a passive observer,” Razor says.
For each individual event, Razor’s art exists for just one night. He focuses primarily on the audience interaction with his pieces, often changing the art during the event in response to audience feedback in real time.
Razor’s installations are often site-specific. He tours the venue beforehand to see how he can best fit his work into the space. “I’ll call a place and ask if they have anything going on in [a few months] and say, ‘Hey, I have a new idea, can I try it?’” Razor explains. “It’s nice to see that if I do have an idea, I can call somebody. It’s nice to have that community.”
Most recently, Razor has been experimenting with auditory art and AI. Last December, he debuted a music album created with AI at a Machine Learning Music Show in Oshkosh. Razor used the music-making AI software Google Magenta to create all the songs’ rhythms, beats, melodies and lyrics, then manipulated the results.
Razor’s body of work can be hard to define, especially in a region where the definition of art is still fixed to the classics. However, Razor says the community at large has embraced his work.
“The art scene in the Fox Valley has hit a new stride,” he says. “It’s growing and it’s beautiful.”
To experience work by Dave Razor and a group of digital 3D animators, head to Appleton’s Feather and Bone Gallery inside The Draw on April 5 from 6-9 p.m. At this augmented reality art show, attendees can experience the art on display using provided mobile devices or by downloading an app.
“The purpose of the show is to showcase artists overlaying the real world with the digital world,” Razor says.
More of Razor’s work can be found at www.daverazordesign.com and on Instagram @daverazor.