Petra Gemeinboeck and Rob Saunders
Zwischenräume [In-Between Spaces] is a robotic artwork that develops an unusual concoction of walls, robotic agents and surveillance technology to performatively explore our built environment and its increasingly autonomous machinic anatomies. The installation embeds curious robotic agents into the architectural skin of a gallery. Each robot is equipped with a motorised hammer or punch, a surveillance camera, and a microphone to interact with its environment and network with the other machines. They use the hammer/punch to pierce holes for the camera eye to see what’s going on outside as well as for communicating amongst the collective. The wall becomes the milieu through which the machines intervene and express their desires through knocking, chipping, and punching holes.
The work uses robotics as a medium of intervention, seeking to literally pierce through and peel off our third skin (the walls) to unveil the underlying machinic anatomy and provoke alternate relationships. The means of marking and exploring the environment have been adopted from two military references—urban combat and visual intelligence—that, once entangled, shape the material forces of this embodied intervention. In contrast to military politics, however, these curious performers deploy their machine agency for their own pleasure to seek difference for the sake of being different.
Zwischenräume. Detail. Gallery of Modern Art. Brisbane. 2012
Zwischenräume. Installation view. MuseumsQuartier. Vienna. 2010
- Petra Gemeinboeck: Artist; concept, machine performance, hardware design
- Rob Saunders: AI researcher; concept, software design, hardware design
- Icy Labs Sydney: Robotics consulting
The development of Zwischenräume was supported by a Project Grant from the Media Arts Board, Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture, and a R&D COFA Faculty Grant. Underlying research was supported under the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Projects funding scheme (project number DP0666584).