|ADA - analog interactive installation / kinetic sculpture / post-digital drawing machine|
Similiar to Tinguely's «Méta-Matics», is "ADA" an artwork with a soul. It acts itself. At Tinguely's it is sufficient to be an unwearily struggling mechanical being. He took it wryly: the machine produces nothing but its industrial self-destruction. Whereas «ADA» by Karina Smigla-Bobinski, is a post-industrial "creature", visitor animated, creatively acting artist-sculpture, self-forming artwork, resembling a molecular hybrid, such as a one from nano biotechnology. It developes the same rotating silicon-carbon-hybrids, midget tools, miniature machines able to generate simple structures.
«ADA» is much larger, esthetical much complexer, an interactive art-making machine. Filled up with helium, floating freely in room, atransparent, membrane-like globe, spiked with charcoals that leave marks on the walls, ceilings and floors. Marks which «ADA» produces quite autonomously, athough moved by a visitor. The globe obtains aura of liveliness and its black coal traces, the appearance of being a drawing . The globe put in action, fabricate a composition of lines and points, which remains incalculable in their intensity, expression, form however hard the visitor tries to control «ADA», to drive her, to domesticate her. Whatever he tries out, he would notice very soon, that «ADA» is an independent performer, studding the originaly white walls with drawings and signs. More and more complicated fabric structure arise. It is a movement exprienced visually, which like a computer make an unforeseeable output after entering a command. Not in vain « ADA» reminds of Ada Lovelace, who in 19th century together with Charles Babbage developed the very first prototype of a computer. Babbage provided the preliminary computing machine, Lovelace the first software. A symbiosis of mathematics with the romantic legacy of her father Lord Byron emmerged there. Ada Lovelace intended to create a machine that would be able to create works of art, such as poetry, music, or pictures, like an artist does. «ADA» by Karina Smigla-Bobinski stands in this very tradition, as well as in the one of Vannevar Bush, who build a Memex Maschine (Memory Index) in 1930 ("We wanted the memex to behave like the intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain"), or the Jacquard's loom, that in order to weave flowers and leaves needed a punch card; or the "analytic machine" of Babbage which extracted algorithmic paterns.
«ADA» uprose in nowadays spirit of biotechnology. She is a vital performance-machine, and her paterns of lines and points, get more and more complex as the number of the audience playing-in encreases. Leaving traces which neither the artist nor visitors are able to decipher, not to mention «ADA» herself either. And still, «ADA's» work is unmistakable potentially humane, because the only available decoding method for these signs and drawings , is the association which our brain corresponds at the most when it sleeps: the truculent jazziness of our dreams.
© ADA - analoge interactive installation by Karina Smigla-Bobinski written by Arnd Wesemann
How does a large inflatable ball embedded with oversized charcoal drawing sticks get included in a major exhibition titled “Robots and Avatars” ? What is more, why was this work one of the most popular artworks of all the technologically future-gazing works exhibited at FACT in Liverpool ?
This work of all the robots and avatars, best tested our relationship to cybernetics.
It is a contrast to works that stand in awe before technology, as many first generation media artworks of the nineties did, incorporating a modernism still celebrating technology.
Despite employing high technology, the significant practice of David Rokeby through the eighties and nineties took an early critical look at cybernetic systems and their relationship to people via surveillance. Foretelling serious concerns on privacy, data and technology. Yet many media works then and since have not moved beyond augmenting the experience with complex ‘interaction’ which if anything removes the experience further from the viewer. However ADA enacts an innate understanding of thought, cognition, mechanical action and effect. ADA asks us through play and tactility to engage directly in creating movement and mark making. Just like a hightech computer she is both art and instrument in one, and although she is a kind of a slave to our play, she escapes all voluntary action into unforeseeable movements. It is good art and like much of Smigla-Bobinskis art, performative and participatory.
ADA is a haptic drawing machine. A slave to our desire to move stuff about. Adept and accidental in making beautiful marks that might appear to have been produced by a computer. The origin of the term Robot, is derived from Slavic and Czech words denoting labour, serf-labour and slave.
This creature, ADA, amplifies our impulses and actions, it is a slave to our thoughts like many devices and tools, however this is an artwork intrinsically binding the audience, and in the process creates a spectacle for those observing the artwork being performed. When ADA is not played with, dormant, the audience focuses further on the marks, which over time become a continuous surface or pattern. With the mark-making ball absent and without video documentation present, the audience might struggle to work out how these marks were applied. By hand over a long time as an abstract fresco? Or by a computer assisted machine drawing algorithmically, across floor, ceiling and walls. And as with any “non-interactive” work, we, the audience, are left with our thoughts and ability to make our own meaning and draw our own conclusions. The cause of how the marks were made might seem irrelevant within the ontology and imagination of an artwork. But here the process, as in interaction between ADA and the visitor, the drawings on the walls and the ball itself merge into a transient state of art. It is an art-work in its most basic meaning: it is being worked on continually, from the creation of the ball to the last stages of ADAs life, when she rests used up by all inter-actors, surrounded by what they had produced together.
As John Dewey says in the Art of Experience, we know that without prior knowledge of art history or intellectual abstraction, art audiences can witness and be part of an artwork. As in everyday life we take meaning, where cognition and experience meet through direct interaction. Ontology here is this direct interaction, and the viewer, who is able to draw and be part of the production, becomes what we might call a pro-sumer (producer-consumer).
ADA is just one of Smigla-Bobinskis works which is perfectly well located in time based practice. Bridging kinetic art, drawing, installation, performance and sculpture, her works contain the method of their making, they are direct art, which foregrounds the material, movement through time and affect in mark making.
This is not to say that all artworks require a relationship with a third party to be complete, however, when a consumer is actually partially producing the artwork, through direct participation, completion is more avert. We see ADA in different states pumped up and buoyant ready to bounce against clean walls - and tired, deflated after several weeks of ab-use from over enthusiastic kids. This image is as powerful as the work in motion. Kinetic and latent energy. And the beautiful drawing. The documentary photographs are explicit in showing the pleasure most of the audience found in the work, but maybe not all. Like clowns, for some this level of activity is obtrusive and crude, art might be viewed as a reflective mirror of inner quiet. But for an institution, it is gold dust, bringing together engagement, collaboration, participation and wonder, one that is social and democratic.
© Prof. Mike Stubbs (Director of FACT, the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology in Liverpool, UK)
> A Giant Bouncing Ball That Draws On Every Wall It Touches by James Gaddy > Fast Company's Co.Design
In the video above, some people approach the orb gingerly; other times they grab the charcoal sticks like handles and try to bend it to their will. Some people bounce it around like a beach ball at a baseball game. About halfway through, an old man tries to actually draw something, only to have it wrestled away by the laws of physics. Every time it hits the wall, the charcoal scratches its mark along the walls, turning the alien-looking, transparent membrane into an automatic art-making machine. In this, the sculpture references her namesake, Ada Lovelace, who, in the 19th century, wrote a series of notes related to a paper on her friend Charles Babbage’s “analytical engine,” i.e., computer, which they hoped would also make works of art as well.
description > analog interactive installation / kinetic sculpture / post-digital drawing machine
components > PVC balloon, charcoals, helium, air
dimensions > 3 m diameter
space > variable, most: 10 m long x 6 m wide x 4 m high
premiere > 2010
Sponsored by > Hochhinaus Luftwerbegesellschaft mbH > www.hochhinaus.de
> The Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow
> FILE Festival in Sao Paulo, Brasilien
> FAD Festival in Belo Horizonte, Brasilien
> Robots&Avatars Projekt
> FACT Liverpool, UK
> Robots and Avatars Ausstellung auf BBC
> FILE Festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilien
> GARAGE Moscow
> FILE Sao Paulo
> FACT Fundation Liverpool
> BBC Click
> FILE Rio de Janeiro
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