Mari Velonaki, The Woman and the Snowman, 2009-ongoing (production image)
Image: courtesy of the artist



This suite of projects focuses upon experimental use of mechanisation (in particular robotics) in both representational construction and in furthering the impulse for deconstruction, even destruction. Collectively the projects present both live processes and outcomes associated with robotics within contemporary practice, ranging across the construction and presentation of images and painted forms through to the erasure of architectural form and alteration of material structures.


Petra Gemeinboeck & Rob Saunders

Accomplice features an infestation of autonomous robots — a colony of curious, social machines hidden within the Artspace gallery walls — that function as an allegory of our world’s complex machinic ecology. Each robot is equipped with a motorised punch, a camera, and a microphone to assist in the complete transformation of the surrounding environment. Collectively, these robots explore, learn, play and conspire by knocking against the wall, producing holes and patterns that mark the evolution of their social development.

Petra Gemeinboeck is a Senior Lecturer in Interactive Media Arts at the College of Fine Arts, UNSW. Her practice in machine performance, interactive installation, and virtual environments explores the ambiguities and vulnerabilities in our relationships with machines, making tangible the desires and politics involved.

Rob Saunders is a Senior Lecturer in Design Computing at the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney. Rob’s research engages with creative agency, computational curiosity, and robotic art. Rob collaborates with artists and designers to apply his research in design customisation systems, interactive installations and robotic artworks.

Petra Gemeinboeck and Rob Saunders, Zwischenräume, 2010–12 (detail)
Image: courtesy of the artists


The Woman and the Snowman
Mari Velonaki

The Woman and the Snowman, a moving image and machinic installation, joins a humanoid robot (Ishiguro, 2007) created by Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University and a projection depicting a snowman to present two differing allegories of reality. Functioning as an ‘honest’ representation of a fictional being, the snowman becomes seemingly more real than the humanoid woman robot as the artwork unfolds. As an investigation into the boundaries of reality, The Woman and the Snowman comments on the influence technological advancements have had upon mediating relationships.

Mari Velonaki is Associate Professor and Director of the recently established Creative Robotics Lab at the National Institute of Experimental Arts, University of NSW. She formerly co-founded the Centre for Social Robotics within the Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney. She was awarded an Australia Council Visual Arts Fellowship in 2007 and an ARC Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship 2009–2013.

Mari Velonaki, The Woman and the Snowman, 2009-ongoing (production image)
Image: courtesy of the artist


Smoking Bolts
Simon Ingram

Smoking Bolts features a cluster of machines that will take up occupation in the Artspace Gallery. Successively marking out different compositions and notations, they paint live in the space through an operational system run remotely by the artist in Auckland. The title refers to a clandestine operation in which ‘a special entry team breaks into an enemy installation and steals a high-security device, like a code machine, leaving nothing but the smoking bolts.’

Since 2007 Simon Ingram has developed a way of working to build on and collaborate with abstract problems inherent to both painting history and a range of attempts that have historically plotted living systems and electromagnetic energy. Ingram is a Senior Lecturer at Elam School of Fine Art in Auckland. Ingram’s recent exhibition history includes projects at MoMA and Pulse NY, both New York; Frankfurter Kunstverein; Kunstverein Medienturm, Graz; The Great Poor Farm Experiment, Waupaca; The Suburban, Chicago; CCNOA, Brussels; Auckland Art Gallery; and The Adam Art Gallery, Wellington.

Simon Ingram’s project and residency is supported by Creative New Zealand.

Image: Simon Ingram, Drunken walk machine, 2008 (detail)
Image: courtesy of the artist