Endemic is built in response to the speed of technological and industrial progress, as it exists alongside and within the natural world.
Blumenthal says of his work, “The speed and artificiality of our progress has neglected the natural. Our relationships with each other, and with the environment surrounding us, have been translated through one form or another of technology since the dawn of the industrial age…. Endemic investigates this space through both the analog and the digital lenses.”
Blumenthal uses his research in consumer technologies as a basis for sculptures and digital fabrication. Using printed circuit board patterns and adaptive kits, 3D printed objects, and speakers, he creates a visual and sonic installation illustrating how the natural and technological world intersect and compete.
Blumenthal has built a fused filament deposition printer from a kit, and refined it to print in ‘controlled failure,’ resulting in partially decomposed organic prints. Using various types of metal filament, he reproduced miniature versions of historical gramophone horns and immersed them in patina baths. After a few weeks the organic and oxidized surfaces developed. The horns were then assembled to create clusters of ‘fungal growths’, which are then ‘tuned’ in length and diameter to the free air resonance of a speaker driver enclosed in the sculpture. The end result is a custom FM radio receiver, installed in clusters in the gallery and tuned to the room and each other to produce the most effective representation of The Sonic Ecosystem.
Virtual Tour video and interview courtesy of Helena Civic Television (HCTV) and Jeanie Warden.
Jesse Blumenthal is an artist and educator residing in Missoula, MT. He was raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and attended UMass Amherst, earning a BFA in Sculpture in 2007, and an MFA from the University of Montana in 2019.
He spent a decade in Colorado where he began a community-based art practice rooted in the industrial arts. Bringing his community minded approach with him to Montana in 2016, he has since been involved in sound-based sculpture workshops, has built a mobile foundry created to bring industrial arts and metal work to the community’s doorstep. He works with Free Cycles of Missoula and the annual Crested Butte Community Collaborative Iron Pour.
Accolades include the Permanent Collection at The Yellowstone Art Museum, a Montana Arts Council Artists in Schools and Communities Grant supported by The National Endowment for the Arts, and four separate regional grants to support community-based foundry events.
You can see his publicly installed works at Salem Art Works, Bozeman Sculpture Park, The International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art, Sculpture in the Wild, and Open AiR.