Petra Gemeinboeck and Rob Saunders
Zwischenräume – Politics of the Wall is part of a series of works that embed curious robotic agents into the walls of a gallery. In this iteration, the work nestled itself into the architectural setting of the gallery to perforate its institutional boundaries.
The installation responded to the specific urban setting of the gallery pavilion of the Forum Stadtpark in Graz, Austria. The gallery and its setting makes apparent the sharp contrast of social realities, manifesting an inside and outside more than just in spatial terms. The pavilion’s walls marked the boundary between an immaculate, white, cultural space and the less immaculate, noisy summer habitat of people living at the fringe of society. Yet the public building didn’t remain untouched by the public life outside, and was covered in a rich tapestry of graffiti.
Our installation aimed to bring these markings of the outside into the untouched inside in the form of stealthy inscriptions that evolved from the graffiti glyphs we recorded outside. The robots inside the gallery walls were equipped with chisels that slowly but steadily pierced into the pristine interior gallery walls. The rumbling sounds of the continuous puncturing was amplified throughout the gallery space, while only from the outside one could get a glimpse of the machines’ doing inside the wall.
Politik der Wand. Installation view from the outside. Forum Stadtpark. Graz. 2011
Politik der Wand. Detail. Forum Stadtpark. Graz. 2011
- Petra Gemeinboeck: Artist; concept, machine performance, hardware design
- Rob Saunders: AI researcher; concept, software design, hardware design
- Icy Labs Sydney: Robotics consulting
- Damien Butler: Mechanical trim design
The production and exhibition of Politics of Wall was supported by a Project Grant from the Media Arts Board, Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture.