Next weekend, Scotiabank Nuit Blanche shines a spotlight on artist Peter Flemming who will showcase his installation titled “Fight or Fight” (2013) in the Roy Thompson Hall pond. The piece will be a part of Romancing the Anthropocene, one of the three major exhibitions at this year’s festival. I had the opportunity to speak with Flemming, a folk machinery artist who currently lives in Montreal.
Flemming is interested in the mechanics and aesthetic of kinetic (moving) sculpture. His installation “Fight or Fight” will consist of four kinetic fish rods positioned at each corner of an artificial pond. The opposing rods will act as hunters, pulling at a quarry installed in the middle of the pond, which will create a tug of war effect over their desired prize.
Classic training in art, for Flemming, emphasizes the importance of three elements: shape, colour and form. He describes motion as a fourth aesthetic dimension that has personally resonated with him. By adding the element of motion into his installations, Flemming views his creations as aesthetically full or complete.
The mechanics of his kinetic sculptures function through various forms of energy producers without electric cords plugged into the wall. “Fight or Fight,” for instance, will be relying on batteries for power. Flemming’s favorite hardware to work with is electromagnets. He has also worked with objects such as salvaged electric and gear motors, levers that push and pull, and solar power.