The Acconci Robot (AU)

 

2012

Robotics and wood

Wade Marynowsky (AU)

 

The Acconci Robot is an interactive robot that follows people unawares. Appearing as a shipping crate of minimal design, the robot is mute and motionless as a viewer approaches. But when the audience member turns away and starts to leave, the robot begins to follow. If the audience member turns to look back at the robot, it stops in its tracks. In this cheeky and playful work, the artist inverts our expectations of the direct engagement and reciprocal exchange typical of interactivity by creating a work that only responds when the audience is most disengaged from it.

The work draws inspiration from a 1969 performance work, Following Piece by Vito Acconci, in which the artist followed unsuspecting individuals in an urban setting as far as he could. Acconci’s investigations of the body in public space are recontextualised by Marynowsky in a gallery context, re-examining interaction and audience participation by drawing parallels between conceptual performance art and art in the age of performative media.

The Acconci Robot was produced with electrical engineer Aras Viachas and programmer Dougall Johnson.

The Acconci Robot was commissioned by Experimenta for their 5th International Biennale of Media Art and has been exhibited at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology gallery, 2012 and the International Symposium of Electronic Art, ISEA2013, Powerhouse Museum, 2013. The paper ‘The Acconci Robot’ was published in Re-New Digital Arts Festival, Conference proceedings, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2013. An Experimenta Commission, presented by MAAP-Media Art Asia Pacific with support from The Emerging and Experimental Arts of the Australia Council for the Arts.

The Acconci Robot, 2012, installation views, photos by Mark Ashkanasy, RMIT Gallery 2012 © of the artist and RMIT.

 

Artist Bio:

Dr. Wade Marynowsky is an interdisciplinary artist working across robotics, immersive and interactive installation, performance, music, and video. His practice typically draws on technology and programmed structures to create works that straddle humour, high camp, and a host of unnerving thematic orientations to absorbing effect. Marynowsky has exhibited and performed internationally since 1998. He has presented work in the UK, Poland, Canada, Japan, Germany, and Holland. Recent highlights include The Acconci Robot as apart of ISEA2013 Powerhouse Museum, Sydney and Black Casino, MONA FOMA, Contemporary Art Tasmania, 2013. Marynowsky was highly commended in The Premier of Queensland’s National New Media Art Award, Gallery of Modern Art, and exhibited in the International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Poznan, Poland, 2010. In 2009 Marynowsky exhibited The Hosts: A Masquerade of Improvising Automatons, at Performance Space, Sydney and Autonomous Improvisation v.1 in the annual Primavera exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.