Feature Articles

November 2013

Davidson College in Davidson, NC, Offers Exhibit of Absurd Machines

Davidson College in Davidson, NC, is presenting Parodic Machines, an exhibition of “absurd machines” transformed from cast-off electronic components into whimsical works of art, on view in the Van Every Gallery, located in the Belk Visual Arts Center, through Dec. 13, 2013.

Curator Paula Gaetano-Adi selected five artists whose work will be in the exhibition, which is titled Parodic Machines. The title indicates that the works are a parody of a 1987 piece by Norman White titled Helpless Robot because it was incapable of any movement or action on its own.

One of the works in the exhibit will include five robotic arms mounted on a wall that employ sensors and circuit boards so that they point at people who approach, and follow the viewer until he or she smiles. Another piece responds only to the Coca-Cola label. Three balloon-blimps will float erratically around a corner of the gallery, directed by circuits affected by the flight of flies inside a small capsule the blimp supports.

The exhibition features the works of Nick Bontrager, David Bowen, Matt Kenyon, Hye Yeon Nam, and Fernando Orellana.

The exhibition will also be the backdrop for two three-hour workshops for Davidson College students in hacking discarded electronics to make kinetic, interactive and robotic art. In addition, 160 CMS students taking robotics courses at McClintock Middle School in Charlotte will visit the exhibition.

Born in Argentina, Gaetano Adi now serves as assistant professor at the University of North Texas’s College of Visual Arts and Design, coordinating its New Media program. She has won many awards for her work and exhibited it worldwide. In discussing her work, she explained “Whether creating a robot or performing with a machine or an artificial creature, my work is always an attempt to promote a bodily and corporeal inter-species encounter and so, an attempt to avoid a practical, rational, utilitarian, and calculated dialogue, i.e., a conventional interaction.”

Gallery Director Lia Newman hopes the exhibition will provide viewers with a new art gallery experience. “The way people will interact with it is different from most exhibitions, where they quietly contemplate works that hang on a wall. These pieces rely on some interaction, and the viewer is integral to the action.”

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the gallery at 704/894-2519 or visit (www.davidsoncollegeartgalleries.org).

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