Lucia Pamela, the musician and space traveler who is the star of this week's feature, was not the only artistically gifted member of her family. Her mother, Lucia Beck, was a concert pianist. Her daughter, Georgia Frontiere, was a nightclub singer. And her grandson, Kenny Irwin, who also goes by the name Hassan, is a pioneer in the burgeoning field of microwave art.
"I was actually the first to come up with the concept of microwaving for entertainment on the Internet," he says modestly.
Microwave art defies all conventional wisdom and regard for safety.
Irwin puts non-food items such as lightbulbs, iPhone cords and alarm
clocks into his very battered Avanti microwave, turns the oven on and
makes video of what happens. Or, in his words, "I microwave things into
Things usually catch on fire.
Since 2006 Irwin, now 35, has posted his videos on YouTube. Last year some of his work appeared at the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore in an exhibit called The Marriage of Art, Science and Philosophy.
Irwin currently takes requests
to microwave things. If the object is too big for his own microwave, he
will use the microwave robot he built himself. He calls it the Amir 9000. It weighs one ton.
Though his grandmother was an influential
figure in Irwin's childhood, she was not the inspiration for his art.
"I did art since I was practically born," he says. But he has only been
microwaving light bulbs since he was six.