Ian Ingram

Ian Ingram


The Beall Center for Art + Technology presents a mid-career survey by artist Ian Ingram. Ingram’s art explores animal morphology, robotic avatars, interspecies communication, and technology in natural environments.

This exhibition will present work from 1998 to 2021, with a particular focus on new works created during his residency at the Beall Center’s Black Box Projects.

Ingram's residency work grew out of collaboration and conversation with UC Irvine neuroscience professor, Steve Mahler, and in thinking about Mahler's love for rats. In the process, Ingram's focus narrowed around the synanthropic animals, the animals most closely tied to ourselves and our places.

Themes running through this new work include the panoply of stories we tell about rats, the actual lives of synanthropic animals and the spaces they occupy in our built environment, the bonds Disney princesses have with animals, the ever-present mechanical eye in the urban environment, and an inchoate yearning for ancestral landscapes, a yearning assumed to be shared both by humans and by the other animals who find facsimiles of those landscapes in our constructed places.

But the linking thread between these projects has seemed to be the "flashbulb memory," the type of episodic memory where even seemingly banal details about a moment are frozen into our heads by the onset of an intense experience, whether traumatic or joyful.  There is some mechanism in the brain through which our quotidian experiences are flowing that is always at the ready to lock down the particulars of what preceded each and every instant at the trigger of a sufficiently emotionally-charged stimulus.

Ingram's robots have frequently been designed to function similarly when the subject of their focus (whether it be raven, lizard, or worm) appeared on the scene.  Often this was driven by pragmatism: there is always limited space in a robot's memories for storing the images, sounds, and other vestiges of their experiences from the time they spend out in wild places.  But with this new work, Ingram attempts to bring that element of the Umwelt of his robots right to the forefront.

The result, in essence, is a collection of objects that get desperately excited when they sense a rat.

About the Artist

Ian Ingram is a Los Angeles-based artist who is interested in the human-made body's future as a willful entity and the nature of communication. He builds robotic objects that borrow facets from animal form and behavior, from the shapes and movements of machines, from our stories about animals, and from our struggle to come to terms with our place in and effect on the natural environment.

The resulting works–often intended to cohabitate, commune, and communicate with the animals in their own places–explore our relationship with non-human animals, behavior and object performance as artistic media, and the interface between the built and the grown.

Ingram has exhibited internationally, including at the Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh, USA); Nikolaj Kunsthal (Copenhagen, Denmark); Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria); the Museum of Modern Art (Toluca, Mexico); Yada Gallery (Nagoya, Japan); Bedford Gallery (Walnut Creek, USA); Eyelevel Gallery (Halifax, Canada); Purdue University (West Lafayette, USA); Zone2Source (Amsterdam, Netherlands); Hasbro (Pawtucket, USA); Popular Science Magazine; Het Nieuwe Instituut (Rotterdam, Netherlands); the Beall Center for Art + Technology (Irvine, USA); and the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK). Ingram has a BS in Ocean Engineering and MS in Ocean Acoustics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an MFA in Visual Art from Carnegie Mellon University.

More images, videos, and texts related to Ingram's work can be found at www.ianingram.org

The Ian Ingram exhibition is supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Beall Family Foundation.

October 09, 2021 to March 05, 2022
Opening Reception: 
October 9, 2021 - 2:00pm
Additional Information: 
Closing Receptions
March 5 2022 2-5pm
Gallery Open
October 9, 2021
January 7-8 and 14-15
Gallery Closed:
November 25-28, 2021
December 10, 2021- Janaury 6, 2022
January 10-13, 2022
February 21, 2022
Curated By: 
David Familian
Press Release: 
Ian Ingram