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Robot Bodies (The Mechanoid's Bloodline)

Keith Piper
2001

Interactive Artwork and Installation

Robot Bodies (The Mechanoid's Bloodline)

Robot Bodies (The Mechanoid's Bloodline)was an interactive gallery based installation exploring themes of racial metaphor within popular science fiction.

It resulted from a body of research which expanded the scrutiny of popular science fiction into the fields of post colonial studies and developing discource's around Afro-futurism'.

The research project was started whilst Piper worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, an institution specialising in Robotic research. Piper's examination of the implications of robotics on economies of labour, led to a wider exploration of the 'mechanoid' as a metaphorical presence which could be re-read as symbolic of notions of racial difference. This research resulted in the solo presentation of a multi-screen interactive installation at the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Pittsburg in 2001, and went on to be shown at a range of venues worldwide including at the Joseloff Gallery, Hartford, USA,(Bits and Pieces, November 2001) The Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles, Belgium (Transferts June - Spetember 2003) and was selected by curator Sebastian Lopez for inclusion in the Fifth Shanghai Biennale 'Techniques of the Visible' (September - November 2004).

An examination of the futurological gaze of science fiction as a site within which metaphors which replay notions of racial particularity and difference, has formed a ongoing seam of enquiry within my creative practice over recent years. These themes were first explored within the 1998 interactive installation 'Robot Bodies' and more recently extended to form the project 'The Mechanoid's Bloodline' 2001. In these projects, the digital tools of sampling, collage, random and planned juxtaposing, and user interactivity have been employed within a cultural practice which seeks in its turn to explode and render problematic the deep set presumptions around racial particularity which pervade contemporary culture.K.P.

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