Machine intervention & textile performance | 2011

Complicit is a sculptural performance work embedded into the walls of a gallery that integrates both manual and robotic interventions to explore the materiality of agency.

Complicit has been developed in collaboration with AI researcher Rob Saunders and textile artist Liz Williamson. The cross-disciplinary, experimental work looks at matter as a form of doing, constructed through a congealing of agencies. It engages the audience in a performative material conversation between human and non-human agents. Similar to our previous work Zwischenräume, the work embeds itself into and merges with the architectural perimeter, concealing machines in temporary walls that imitate the gallery’s skin. The walls become the machines’ body, through which they autonomously express themselves by knocking, chipping, and carving. To visitors, their constant doings are only be visible in the traces they leave; patterns of cracks, holes, and dents.

Each day, the textile artist Liz Williamson joined the machines’ process and, responded with soft textile materials, intervening by patching holes, darning fractures and stitching cracks; thus patiently embroidering and lacing the wall’s tattered skin.

Complicit makes tangible the machinic nature of the wall itself, aiming to engage the audience in the intimate complicity that connects us with the machinic ecologies we create. The project builds on the work ‘Zwischenräume’ (2010) while at the same establishing a new collaborative practice that fuses robotic art, performance and textile craft.