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New exhibit added to Carnegie summer calendar
Creation explores through kaleidoscopes
Elson Infinite Kate y1000
Matt Elsons creation The Infinity Boxes will be on display at the Carnegie Arts Center starting July 31. - photo by Photo Contributed

The Carnegie Arts Center will be showcasing “The Infinity Boxes,” an exhibit by Modesto native Matt Elson that explores humanity through sight, sound and relationship. These interactive sculptural works invite the viewer to engage inside a unique, kaleidoscopic space.

The Carnegie Arts Center will present a temporary exhibit including as many as eight individual boxes in the Ferrari Gallery from July 31 through Aug. 21. Following the Carnegie exhibition, the works will travel for display at the annual Burning Man Festival in Nevada.

“Philosophically the goal of “The Infinity Boxes” is to playfully explore human perception and social interaction,” said Elson. “Aesthetically the goal is to create objects that draw the viewer in from a distance with the box's odd beauty; they become progressively less comprehensible during interaction.”

“The Infinity Boxes” are social by design and only ‘activate’ when each available window is filled by a person, explained Carnegie Art Centers Director Lisa McDermott. The exhibit is a form of contemporary portraiture that is tuned to social media. Typically two people will walk up, look in from each side, put their heads in the box, be surprised/get happy, then spontaneously take out their phones to photograph each other and publish those pictures via the web.

“It's happened tens of thousands of times now and it’s the normal interaction in response to the given stimuli,” Elson said.

Some of the box experiences cannot be photographed as the image exists solely inside the viewers head. These cases rely on each eye giving the brain a separate input which is assembled into an entirely subjective image. In these cases the image is never the same twice, and can never be recorded as experienced, as the process relies on the brain as image compositor of two disparate visual inputs. “The Infinity Boxes” create self-awareness of the process of seeing, while at the same time generating a sense of wonder in the participants, McDermott explained.

Elson is an internationally award-winning computer graphics artist who has worked in the high end of 3D computer graphics since 1982, working with Walt Disney Feature Animation, Dreamworks Feature Animation, Magnet Interactive Studios, The Post Group LA, and Symbiotics, Inc.  In 2005 he returned to making fine art and is currently producing “The Infinity Boxes.”


Admission to see the exhibit is $8 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors. The exhibit is free for children 12 years and younger.

Gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays. The Carnegie is located at 250 N. Broadway in Turlock.