Machine 2 , 2015, Windscreen wiper, surgical tape, bells from the garden, packing tape, camera, wood, dansette legs, cotton reel, motor.
Machine 2 is the second in a series of video sculptures investigating anthropomorphism and breakdown. Sealed in Gallery 333, the machine will tap on the glass and observe passers by. Eventually it will cease to function, at which point a documentary of its short life will be screened in the gallery.
The machine taps on the window of a small vitrine in Exeter’s Phoenix arts centre. Closer examination reveals that it is tapping with a small camera mounted on a windscreen wiper. We can see what it sees on a small television screen. The mechanism of the machine is imprecise, it’s movements are far from fluid, it catches and judders, it’s materials, not really fit for purpose, strain and contort.
The camera is a machine too.
There is an interesting scene in Verhoeven’s ‘Robocop’, 1987, before the cyborg is fully activated. In the beginning Robocop is turned on and off by his makers, we get glimpses of vision in the form of a fixed screen overlaid with interference and heads up display. At one point he is activated during a Christmas party and a scientist kisses his screen leaving a lipstick print. The print sits on the outside marking a separation between the internal world of Robocop’s mind and that of humanity.
In ‘Machine2’ just like ‘Robocop’ we see what the machine sees. But there is a sense of dislocation, not least because like the human eye the camera relays an inverted image. Deleuze in ‘Proust and Signs’ uses the imagery of love to Expand upon this idea.
“It is also why the loved women are often linked to landscapes which we know sufficiently to long for their reflection in a woman’s eyes, but which are then reflected from a viewpoint so mysterious that they become virtually inaccessible, unknown landscapes.” (Deleuze, 1973, p7-8)
“How can we gain access to a landscape which is no longer the one we see, but on the contrary the one in which we are seen”.