Free Range Appliances in a Light Dill Sauce
A series of found object kitchen appliances that are attracted to light. They are capable of responding to 2 different kinds of stimuli: IR and visible light levels.
How did these creatures come into being?
The most direct inspiration for this piece is obviously the Tomagochi. When I got one, I couldnıt put it down for 2 weeks. It was insane. But I became really aware of my mental state during those 2 weeks. The little plastic egg hooked into my consciousness where I was having a purely emotional response to digital stimuli. And because it did tap into that emotional space, the computer to me became invisible. It became clear that these were objects that could elicit a strong emotional response. Generally when people think of an emotion that is attached to the computer, itıs fustration and replusion, but in this instance, appealing to the nurturing side of people was much more effective. This emotional state allowed you to see through the computer and in a very abstract way find yourself or your personal traits reflected on the other side.

With the appliances, perhaps it has to do with size and maybe it has to do with the way that they move. There is a kind of magic that happens in the space between the metal surface of the toaster and the firing synapses in the brain. Part of it is our tendency as humans to anthropomorphize and kind of fill in the gaps of the machineıs existence. Part of it is taking advantage of the suspension of disbelief. The fact is people want to believe itıs alive and they are willing to put aside their rational processes, if the enviornment and circumstances are created so they feel itıs safe to do that. Part of what works, I think is that they are helpless and needy. We feel sorry for the appliances when they get stuck. That, plus the fact that we all harbour secret fantasies of being heroes; it becomes a very serendipitous relationship.

The very nature of the objects Iıve chosen (kitchen appliances, associations of home and food) tip the psychological scales in my favor. All the objects are found or donated, so to me they already have a rich past. I try to use components and motors from other machines or acquire salvaged parts. So, this machine isnıt really new; it was previously something else. These creatures have been literally birthed out of the garbage pile- a kind of machine reincarnation. So maybe if they were really good machinery, they will eventually achieve some kind of machine nirvana.

So now what?

Right now the appliances follow light. In a previous incarnation they used IR to dance to James Brown. What Iım working towards now is choreography and stage direction. Iım trying to create a machine play or ballet where they are the actors. Iım thinking of maybe doing Hamlet or the little swans bit in Swan Lake (with the 4 swans linked). Iım working on gesture and movement, so itıs as if these machines have become my personal theater troupe. Theyıre tempermental, just like actors. But there arenıt and union fees to pay, so as an executive producer, I guess thatıs good news. But weıll see what happens. Maybe they strike or something.