The installation embeds a group of autonomous robots into the walls of a gallery. They punch holes through the walls to inspect what’s outside, signal each other, and conspire. As if the walls had ears and a hammer to pierce holes for their eyes to see. The work develops a political relationship between the stealthy invasion of digital surveillance and urban combat tactics in which soldiers are instructed to walk through private walls. The installation stages this relationship in the form of an autonomous sculptural process that marks and wounds our environment, leaving behind open scars.
The robots were made in cooperation with Icy Labs of Sydney and the piece as a whole is reminiscent of Jonah Brucker-Cohen’s !Alerting Infrastructure!. Political motivations aside, it’s a bit haunting to think about a group of robots carefully demolishing a domicile over a period of several months. I’d be curious to know what sort of AI was involved as I watch these robots in the video give little test taps with their hammers before whacking away at the drywall. [via Pruned]