"Yes, they are metaphors. But robots are very metaphorical by nature; I just push the idea a little further. What’s important for me is to leave it open to interpretation, everyone is allowed to project whatever he/she wants onto these creatures, but if they start feeling something for a robot (sorrow, sadness, whatever) then I can say I achieved my goal."
Bill Vorn, interview for Digicult magazine.
Six robotic structures as basic elements of the "Hysterical Machines" interactive installation react to the human presence in their immediate environment. Moving across the robotic jungle in the repurposed industrial building still carrying much of its original character, the responsive nature of robots activates the senses and sets off emotional reactions – as if we are in the middle of an unreal rendezvous with beings from another planet. To which extent are our reactions induced by empathy and soft, romanticist biocentrism, as opposed to the rational perception of the octopus-like metal objects, hydraulic systems behind their movement, network of sensors, cables and machinery? How is it even possible to feel something for these beings and their indisputably dysfunctional, absurd and deviant behaviour? Either feeling motivated to rethink the relations between human and technological, natural and artificial, a creature and a thing, or simply immersed into the chaos of mechanical limbs, sound, light and fog, "Hysterical Machines" is one of the paradigmatic artworks from the turn of the century, and a definitive must-see piece of contemporary robotic art.
Bill Vorn, based in Montreal, creates installation and performance projects involving robotics and motion control, sound, lighting, video and cybernetic processes. He builds large-scale environments staging robots and machines as sole actors. He teaches Electronic Arts in the Department of Studio Arts at Concordia University (Intermedia program). He makes Electronic Music whenever he has a chance.
Curators of this programme realized in collaboration with NGO Drugo more (Rijeka) are Tereza Teklić, Davorka Begović and Ena Hodžić (KONTEJNER).
Supported by: Ministry of Culture and Media, City of Rijeka, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec
The programme is part of Rijeka 2020 - European Capital of Culture project
Rijeka - Port of Diversity