Number of the Machine

Audiences are invited to watch this kinetic sculpture as two human bodies become components, disassembling and laboriously transporting a timber dwelling from one synthetic island to the other.

Performed over several hours each day, Number of the Machine carries layers of meaning that respond to a number of philosophical ruminations, such as the synthesis of technology and biology, human primacy, perceptions of sentient machines, and the problematic belief in progress.

Two performers engage with a machine that reflects human intellect and biological physicality. The machines exhibit a sentient quality that rivals the human body’s rank in the space. Central to the work are two 6DOF (six degrees of freedom) motion simulators which activate the bodies.

The collision of primitive and current technology in the work is symbolic of our entangled relationship with the constructed environment over countless millennia. It also explores notions of shared ascendance between primitive and current technology, challenging popular views of technological and ethical progress.

It is a powerful and menacing image, and it continues to pervade our collective view of where we are now, and where we might be headed.

The work operates as a poetic treatise on our binding connection to the unwieldy and dominating force that is technology. Perhaps it moves alongside us and not necessarily with us, or for our benefit. Ritualistic clothing, totemic shapes and seemingly purposeful movement of the machines all serve to challenge the proposal that the biological bodies and their mechanised environment are entirely bound by social determinism.


Artistic Director Antony Hamilton

Programming, System Design and Sound (((20hz)))

Timber structure Justin Green Performers Melanie Lane and Amber McCartney

Public program Artistic Director’s talk, Friday 19 May 12-12.30 pm

Sponsors Created with the support of Darrin Verhagen, AkE Lab, City of Melbourne and Arts Victoria.



Number of the Machine

A four-hour time lapse of Number of the Machine, which is performed for several hours each day and carries layers of meaning…


Choreographer Antony Hamilton on Number of the Machine

Performance-exhibition-kinetic sculpture Number of the Machine opens on May 19 at RMIT Gallery and features sound and motion simulators from RMIT’s AkE…