Monkey on Your Back
SEEMEN build machines and robots that a live audience can operate. This is an art that is a mix of robots, machines, sculpture, computers, science, inventions, audience interaction and storytelling. We are only interested in giving audiences a real life experience, not a passive virtual one.
We believe that vision, robotics, language, fear, bodily functions (Breathing, eating/chewing, heartbeat, talking, touching, sexual arousal, lie detectors, breathalyzers) are some of the keys to understanding something deeper than just technology. So we are using the organic human body and its bodily functions to operate robots (to trigger/turn them on and off). Hence to make the volunteers cyborgs. Humans themselves become part of "the Machine". To attempt to meld machines and humans to become one organism. We are margenalized people in technologically-enhanced cultural "systems", that there is a "system" which dominates the lives of most "ordinary" people, true artists are those who live on its margins, on "the Edge": criminals, outcasts, visionaries or those who simply want freedom for its own sake. Art as a form of subversion.
We aspire to make machines that are therapeutic, that are interfaces between man and robots, that use as a medium, fear, sexuality and submission. Experimenting with triggering the classic "fight or flight" response producing an adrenaline induced euphoria as you face and escape death. The same part of the brain lights up for both pleasure and pain (super hot foods, the "burn" from a hellacious workout, Giving birth, eating, gambling, recreational drugs, bungee jumping, skydiving, thrill sports).
We are not trying to humble volunteers with technology, rather empower them by letting them operate custom made machines that can literally spin, shake, engulf in fire and sound, lift and throw you. We are able to make the volunteers a "star" by putting them in the spotlight. The work attempts to challenge both the applications of technology and the boundaries between the audience and performers. In the end we are encountering our demons which are our own limitations. The machines and their interactions with the audience reinvent technology as its own antithesis - it is no longer the use of machines to replace people or do things they can't, instead the machines facilitate the thing that only humans can do: feel.
Acknowledgements: Support for Kal Spelletich's participation in ArtBots was provided by The Madagascar Institute. Thanks to Jonathan Foote for electrical engineering help. Monkey on Your Back photo: Rudy Rucker. Kal Spelletich photo: Karen Marcello
|All materials on this website copyright 2000-2012 douglas irving repetto and the individual artists.|