Exhibition: A Robot Attempts to Eat a Chicken Nugget

On July 9, 2015 by Greta

robot chicken nuggetThis compelling, quirky title perfectly encapsulates the bizarre and wonderful interactive installations that can be found at the First Draft Gallery in Woolloomooloo. The exhibition ‘A Robot Attempts to Eat a Chicken Nugget’ is a collaboration between Tully Arnot, Josh Harle, Jason Phu, Louise Zhang and curated by Luke Letourneau, and it is running until 24th July. We chatted exclusively with artist Josh Harle to find out more about this interesting project.

“[The exhibition] is looking at technology and the human interface of technology. We’re all looking at a disgusting element or a point of seepage, where the organic, biological element crosses over in technology,” Josh said.

The exhibition focuses on being fun and playful, with robots throwing things around in all corners of the room. The large gallery space features moving, jiggling, leaking robotic installations, but the exhibition also has some deeper undertones.

“It’s an unusual way of presenting technology in contrast to the aesthetics of technology and progress that we normally get – we get the iPhone, the other robots running around and doing scary and intimidating things and we get beautiful pristine aesthetics of technology and everything is new and exciting about progress. This exhibition is looking at a very different angle of technology, with motivation, points of failure that are in opposition to that beautiful utopian aesthetic of technology that we normally see in advertising and the media”.

“Each of the individual artists have our own take on the relationship between technology and the human and this is the overlap of all of us looking at that question.”

All four artists met at COFA at UNSW and through conversation they realised that through their common interest, it would be very productive for them to work and collaborate together, with slightly different takes on the same theme.

Josh’s work, for example, inspired the name of the exhibition and includes a robot eating a chicken nugget. He has been looking at technology as a performative thing rather than simply a process of something achieving its goal.

“It’s got a big robot arm, you stick a chicken nugget in front of it, press a button and the arm picks up the chicken nugget and goes through the process of slowly digesting the chicken nugget after picking it up…It’s a nice and striking title for an exhibition which is along the lines of technology doing weird things.”

“Louise has this idea of the abject, the disgusting and biological with vivid colours. It’s within in its own coloured set but with an element of disgustingness to it, which fits quite well into the idea of another side of technology…she has some disgusting, overflowing fountains of dubiously coloured and smelling liquids…and it breaks down and becomes the artificial disgusting, the artificial organic.”

“Jason has an irreverent  take on a whole heap of different themes… He’s got a work which is a big sundry machine, which is pretty impressive.”

“Tully has been looking at the imbued life of technology, taking everyday things and giving them an uncanny spirit, an uncanny motion and activity to them, like the cheeseburgers that shake around,all sorts of interesting bits and pieces.”

“And then we’ve got collaborations between us in the gallery space as well.”

Overall the exhibition is very playful. Josh added: “If you’re looking at it through a theory-based side there’s something to get out of it but it’s also a very vibrant and exciting exhibition…it’s a fun show.”

Jason said First Draft gallery has a fantastic model in that they support emerging artist and because they aren’t commercial they give a lot of creative freedom to the artists. “They’re not looking to sell artworks so I don’t think we would have had the opportunity to do a show quite like this that’s so messy and fun in any other gallery,” he said.

‘A Robot Attempts to Eat a Chicken Nugget’ is showing until the 24th July at First Draft Gallery and they will be doing artist talks from 6-8pm on 23rd July. Head along to experience a fun, playful and thought-provoking exhibition that will resonate with kids and adults alike.


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