Karl Erickson lives in Memphis, Tennessee. He received his MFA from California Institute of the Arts and his BFA from Wayne State University. He was raised in the Detroit-area of Michigan. He makes videos and audio/visual-performances about language, transformative experiences, self-betterment and environmentalism. His screen-based work takes place in galleries, museums, film festivals and music venues. He is particularly interested in how communication and kinship can be made across different entities, plants to humans, machines to animals.
Recent exhibitions include “Language as Shapes” (with Andrew Falkowski) at The Suburban, Milwaukee, WI, “Learn Sing Plants Counting Monsters Colors Alphabets” at Clough-Hanson Gallery, Rhodes College, Memphis, TN, “Another Dimension: Digital Art in Memphis” at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN, “Are You Connect?” at the Electronic Arts Gallery of Colorado State University, “Time For Something Else” with Laurie Nye at Day & Night Projects, Atlanta, "We Could Be Transcendent Apes" at Field Projects Gallery in New York City, “2020 Megalith'' at The Wrong Biennial, and “Screen2019: Climates” at UMASS, Amherst, MA. Recent video screenings and performances were included in the Memphis Concrète Experimental Music Festival 2021, The Performing Media Festival at Indiana University South Bend, “Adjusting the Lens: Experimental Film and Video Festival,” at Unrequited Leisure, Nashville, TN, Indie Memphis Film Festival 2019 and 2020, and That One Film Festival in Muncie, IN. He has been an artist in residence at The Arctic Circle, Plyspace, and Signal Culture.
I make animations, videos, and performances about language, transformative experiences, self-betterment, and environmentalism. My screen-based work is presented in galleries, museums, film festivals and music venues. I am particularly interested in how communication and kinship can be made across different entities, plants to humans, machines to animals. My current series of works is about non-human intelligences and ecology, depicting ritualistic interactions between plants, monsters, insects, aliens, and physical manifestations of language. The works offer an absurdist take on educational programming for children, from Sesame Street to algorithmically produced content on Youtube, mixed with a heavy dose of experimental cinema and extraterrestrial encounter narratives. The animations present lessons designed to challenge traditional educational objectives. The end goal is to create and learn alternative languages, to forge trans-species kinships, and to find new ways of being right. To create these scenarios I use video collage, mixing together 2D and 3D animation, still and moving images, and motion design. Motion capture technologies map my movements onto digital avatars. Bioelectricity from plants shapes the audio signals of the videos, creating sounds that feel like language, even if it is a language we don’t understand.
BFA in Sculpture, Wayne State University