Kinetic sculpture explores tension between human and machine

Number of the Machine, opening night performance, RMIT Gallery, 2017. Photo by Vicki Jones

Number of the Machine (19 May – 10 June) a compelling new performance-based work by celebrated choreographer Antony Hamilton at RMIT Gallery, explores the complex relationships between humans and technology.

In an age where Artificial Intelligence platforms are making inroads into both white collar and blue collar jobs, and climate issues are impacting on the most vulnerable in our communities as well as the environment, Number of the Machine is open to a range of interpretations and offers a powerful image of where we might be headed.

Audiences are invited to watch as over four continuous hours each day, performers Melanie Lane and Amber McCartney laboriously assemble and disassemble a timber dwelling from one synthetic island to the other.

Number of the Machine, opening night performance, RMIT Gallery, 2017. Photo by Vicki Jones.

Number of the Machine is Antony’s first ever work for gallery spaces. “There is something about the very different spatial and narrative possibilities offered at RMIT Gallery that attracted me to presenting Number of the Machine in this environment,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton was invited by Darrin Verhagen, Director of RMIT’s Audiokinetic Experiments (AkE) Lab, to develop a work following a residency this year.

Verhagen, a senior lecturer in Media and Communication, said that the Audiokientic Experiments (AkE) Lab has facilitated a number of projects over the last three years which have been presented in various exhibitions at RMIT Gallery.

“Many of these projects, such as Object 2 (Experimenta Recharge 2014), Einsturzende Neubauten’s Klangbewegungmaschine (Geniale Diletanten 2015 – pictured below, left), blue|red: VIMS\SIMS (Morbis Artis, 2016 – pictured, below, right) explore the boundaries of what might be classified as fine art – philosophical challenges the gallery has been generous to platform.”

Antony Hamilton’s work takes the question to the next level – not only exploiting the choreography of two 6DOF Motion Simulators, but involving two live dancers in the installation.

Number of the Machine exploits the choreography of two 6DOF Motion Simulators. Opening night performance, RMIT Gallery, 2017. Photo by Vicki Jones.

RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies said that Hamilton’s kinetic work has a powerful resonance that complements the concurrent RMIT Gallery exhibition Ocean Imaginaries, which focuses on some of the contradictions and conflicted feelings raised by how the ocean is imagined in an age of environmental risk.

“We must not forget that climate issues impact on humanity – indeed, the most vulnerable in our communities, as well as the environment. Catastrophic environmental events will affect us all no matter how secure we think we are,” Davies said.

(left to right) Antony Hamilton, Suzanne Davies and Darrin Verhagen, at the opening performance of ‘Number of the Machine’, standing in front of ‘Crossing the Rubicon, 2017’ a large scale photograph of an underwater sculpture by Jason Decaires Taylor that features in RMIT Gallery’s ‘Ocean Imaginaries’ exhibition.

Number of the Machine was created with the support of AkE Lab, City of Melbourne and Creative Victoria.

Kinetic sculpture performance by Antony Hamilton
Performers: Melanie Lane and Amber McCartney
Dates: 18 May – 10 June
Times: Mon-Sat 12.30-4.30 pm/ Thurs 2.30-6.30 pm
Venue: RMIT Gallery, Building 16, 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne.
Free – you are welcome to enter and leave at any time during the performance





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