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Work Samples

Plaza

Detail of "The Zipper" from "Plaza" 2016

Bombers

Still shot of "Bombers" 2017

Carnival Interior

Installation shot from "Carnival Interior" 2015

ICES / The Serpent

Detail from "Integrated Carnival Energy Systems / The Serpent"

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About Scott

Scott Pennington is a Baltimore-based artist specializing in large-scale participatory installation and sculptural assemblage works. Drawing upon his background as a furniture and cabinet-maker, Pennington utilizes woodworking and construction techniques to create colorful, detailed works of art that engage varied audiences and invigorate public spaces. Pennington’s work suggests a tangible, yet illusory reality that examines labor, consumer culture, and the pursuit of simple pleasures, and the... more

Integrated Carnival Energy Systems / The Serpent

Integrated Carnival Energy Systems / The Serpent
2017
Plywood, Sheet metal, Plexi-glass, LEDs, Incandescent light bulbs, Glitter, Micro-controller

We live in a world of time clocks, traffic jams, inescapable commercialism, and overbearing religious ideals. For many people, much of modern life is a struggle to find and maintain some level of fulfillment and happiness—while fending off the continuous voices that tell us what we should think and how we should do things. We are taught to fear everything and fall in line. Some people enable themselves to rise above, but others simply hope for a momentary distraction from the repressive forces of our society. Growing up in a small Maryland town, the traveling carnival that came for a single week every summer was just such a distraction for many families including my own. We would anticipate the sounds, sights, and smells of this miraculous event all year, attending the annual spectacle with an almost spiritual devotion. The social space that the gathering of rides, games and attractions creates is a comforting yet surreal landscape that seems to strike at our inner most desires to be transported from normality. The primal lure of these garish structures draw us in—offering promises of delight and joy like sirens on the sea. We allow ourselves to be seduced, knowing all the while that it is really our money that this beautiful capitalist creation wants.

My work emulates the hypnotic patterns and tidal rhythms of the carnival. I investigate the way that multiple components and systems work together, drifting in and out of synchronicity while striving to maintain the overall continuity of a single organic landscape. I am enthralled by the engineering and technology that goes into the giant machines built to twist, turn and shake us for two minutes—all while we are mesmerized and hypnotized by the bright-blinking and chasing lights. Through sculpture and installation, utilizing programmed lighting technology, I explore the nostalgic and captivating nature of the idealized carnival landscape. While maintaining the impermanent feel of this temporary wonderland, I distill its visual effects and psychological components down to a condensed and refined experience, creating moments where viewers can gather and pay homage via a concentrated dose of electric joy.

Bombers

Bombers
2017
12' x 18' x 6"
Plywood, Sheet metal, Plexi-glass, LEDs, Micro-Controller

As a child I was fascinated by the machines of war, by the power and seeming grace of missiles and aircraft. These were my familiar toys writ large and potent, inspiring thoughts of adventure and heroism in my early life. All that comes after the arc of the plane, the plummet of its cargo, was invisible to me, obscured by the sheltering media and by sheer distance from those un-exceptional un-American places where the consequences of warfare are everyday reality.
In some ways, little has changed with maturity. I hear and see reports from distant lands: abstractions for an audience who does not really want to know; simplified sequences of events that are familiar in their outlines, devoid of brutal detail and confusing complication. It occurs to me that a great many Americans are rendered childlike in our relationship to military technologies- some by our trust in the judgment of authorities who assume responsibility for their use, others by our frustrated helplessness to stop them. In either case, our innocence of the war machines’ flesh and blood effects is preserved. The damage done we do not understand.

Plaza

"Plaza" is an interactive installation included in "Light City Baltimore"2016 in Baltimore, MD made possible through funding provided by Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts. Plaza is a series of gate-like structures inspired by the architecture of carnival rides, old-school roadside signage, and the hypnotic and seductive energy of the Vegas-Style marquee. Adorned with blinking, chasing lights and colorful illuminated panels, the structures are arranged into a garden-like setting that suggests a sort of randomness, as if this temporary wonderland mysteriously appeared overnight. Plaza aims to function as a visual playground of architectural relics- one that invites viewers to stroll through and immerse themselves in colossal forms and pulsating light.

Electro-Duct

"Electro-Duct" is a one night installation hosted by 'Napoleon Gallery' on The Reading Viaduct in Philadelphia, PA. The Installation employs the hypnotic and seductive energy of carnival rides, old-school roadside signage, and the Vegas-Style marquee in a reaction to the surrounding industrial architecture of the viaduct. The animated beacon imposes itself into the preexisting industrial environment of the railroad, warmly insisting to the viewer that it belongs there.

Carnival Interior

Carnival interior is an interactive installation creating a meditative 'sanctuary' that explores social interaction within a space utilizing a carnival aesthetic. The gallery space has been modified to create an entry point that would give visitors an immediate symmetrical view of the installation. A large, upholstered banquette is placed in each of the 4 corners that provides slightly reclined seating and keeps a viewers feet off of the floor in a manner similar to the seat of a carnival ride. A large "duck pond fountain" sits in the center of the room and contains wooden ducks that circulate around the pond. Large spinning wheels are mounted on 3 of the walls.

SuperGame!

SuperGame! was conceived and designed by Scott Pennington, executed in collaboration with Adam Franchino, and involved contributions from dozens of other artists and volunteers.

Introduced at Baltimore’s Artscape in July of 2014, SuperGame! inhabits a large colorful structure with a nostalgic carnival aesthetic. Game operators invite festival goers to interact with the installation by playing 5 classic carnival games, each with a twist based on contemporary culture. Players are rewarded for playing each of the five games with a custom-designed hand stamp.

In the evening SuperGame! is lit by an elaborate series of programmed LED lights, designed specifically for this piece, which are integrated into the structure. Game play is accompanied by a lively sound track of new and old songs as well as sound pieces created by contributing artists.

  • Political Punk Rack

    A classic punk rack, also know historically known as ‘Tip the cat’ in the case of SuperGame!, the targets were politicians, celebrities, and TV personalities. Players threw bean bags printed with images of shoes, to try and topple their favorite, or least favorite president, despot, or wild card celebrity. Game design in collaboration with Melissa Webb.
  • Danger Beach Ball Roll

    Players manipulated a tilting play field to maneuver a ball thorough various ocean-themed obstacles and safely reach the beach! Game play is accompanied by lights and sounds reminiscent of an old school pinball machine.
  • Battleship Duck Pond

    A twelve-foot battleship houses a classic duck pond. Try your luck, pick a duck!
  • World Destruction Ring Toss

    A classic ring toss, but in the SuperGame! version, players threw rings around objects that they wanted to save from certain environmental destruction, such as toy dinosaurs, unicorns, and a Gene Simmons doll, sparing them from catastrophic earthquakes, volcano eruptions, and tidal waves. Game design in collaboration with Alishea Galvin and Alicia Puglionesi.
  • Black Hole Corn Hole

    Players threw bean bags printed with satellites into a small hole on a spinning disc. A direct hit popped a balloon, stopping alien invaders from emerging through the black hole and conquering the earth… Game design by Adam Franchino.
  • SuperGame!

    Overall view, opposite angle
  • SuperGame!

    Nighttime view
  • SuperGame!

    View from above, atop the ferris wheel... Photo by Katherine Crosby
  • SuperGame!

    Overall view
  • ICES / The Serpent

    Detail from "Integrated Carnival Energy Systems / The Serpent"

The Foam Incident

Pink and Blue Dilemma: The Foam Incident is a performance/installation introduced at Baltimore's Artscape in July 2010, seen again in Scottsdale, AZ in March of 2013 and in Arlington, VA in September of 2015. It consists of an 8 'x 8' x 13' tall structure resembling a factory, a 3' x 4' x 6' foam production unit and numerous smaller elements including road blocks and signage.
Throughout the festivals the 'foam unit' periodically spews foam resembling industrial waste onto the street. Technicians/Performers dressed in pink and blue protective gear then try to manage and neutralize the spill using various tools including brooms, shovels, garden sprayers and a leaf blower. Despite the projected, hazardous nature of the situation technicians strip down to a swimsuit version of the protective gear and encourage spectators to dance and play in the foam until it stops flowing.

Evacuation Scenario

Evacuation scenario was part of 'The Rooms Play' 2011 by The CopyCat Theatre. Upon entering the triangular room viewers are escorted to the room's center by two technicians. Each of the three walls contain one or two spinning elements. Viewers are instructed to relax and cooperate by a loud pre-recorded soundtrack consisitng of a female voice from a loud speaker. While viewers are scanned by an ambiguous blinking wand the distant sounds of mechanical devices and possibly a helicopter are heard. After subjects are properly scanned and cleared by the technicians the loud speaker indicates that exterior conditions had reached a safe tolerance. A count down begins, the buzzer sounds and evacuees are rushed out of the room.

Interstellar species Survey

The Interstellar Species Survey is an interactive installation/performance created for Artscape 2008 in collaboration with Paige Shuttleworth. It consists of a 9' tall x 18' diameter, octagonal spacecraft and 8 performers in elaborate "alien" costumes. The craft's interior contains numerous control panels, simulated technology and various tests that spectators were subjected to upon entering the installation. Several video displays run throughout the day accompanied by a soundtrack of ambient 'alien noise'. As the sun set the craft is lit from the inside with built-in light effects and projections onto the fabric hull that are visible from inside and out.

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