Now more than ever, humanity is at war with itself. In every arena from religion to politics to finance, everyone is competing for dominance and power. Social media, under the guise of increasing our connection, provides a forum for incivility and destructive comments that promote even more divisiveness.
While some dismiss art as frivolous or even irrelevant, the shared experience of art unites us and reveals our common humanity.
Ironically, as we distance ourselves from one another, technology is making our machines more responsive and more connected to us. We talk to them and make requests; they listen and respond to our needs. Our interaction with machines and devices often replaces time spent with other humans. In my work, I question our evolving relationship these types of inanimate objects, beginning with the automata and mechanical toys of the 18th century. Built for entertainment, these “living machines” could move, blink, write, play music, and simulate real life. They are the inspiration for my kinetic sculpture or “robot art” -- art that incorporates motion, light, sound, and, most importantly, invites interaction with the viewer.
I believe there is a magical transformation that happens when mechanical movement is added to a static figure. This movement captures the viewer's attention and holds it. Drawn into a momentary relationship with each piece, the viewer becomes a collaborator as well as an observer. At the same time, the use of salvaged material and everyday objects gives everyone a familiarity and personal connection to the sculptures.
My inspiration comes from inventors such as Edison, Tesla, and the Wright Brothers, whose inventions have redirected the course of humankind. What does it say about our dubious relationship with our machines, that these are now venerated and housed in museums? It’s with this in mind, that I color my work with the patina of time or wear, suggesting an element of indefinite history or timelessness. In essence, we are defined by our relationship with our machines.
“The soul paints itself in our machines.” ― Joseph Joubert, The Notebooks of Joseph Joubert