Choreographed Robot Alpha
MAY 1-31, 2014
PROXY Gallery is pleased to present Dane Picard in the solo exhibition “Choreographed Robot Alpha." The piece was made using flexinol wire--an alloy of nickel and titanium that has shape memory. It goes from one state to another at a molecular level when it passes a certain temperature threshold. All plastic parts are 3D printed, while a passive infrared sensor detects the presence of the viewer and activates the work. Its abstract shape and movement may distantly recall time-lapse video of plants, while the “robot” and “choreographed” in the title elicit associations to humans and dance.
However, Picard’s intention is to present a material-driven infrastructure interacting to create an object. The object resists instrumentalization or utility, however Picard still considers it a robot. In this sense the work constitutes a resistance to functionalism, insofar as representation is also a function. Picard sees no opposition in the terms technology, magic or spirituality—for him electricity is magic and the human body is both an organic and electrochemical entity. Rather than engage with the opposition between religion and science in favor of one or the other, Picard lets them be, as he sees them as neither separate nor joined, but parallel.
Emerging from the field of experimental animation, the work has a well-considered and yet precarious relationship to machines as human and humans as machines; art as technology and technology as art; spirituality as material, and materiality as a spiritual proposition.