How has technology changed our perceptions of personal space, human interaction and privacy? Performance and robotics artist Barry Freedland’s current work begs the question. In a technology-based performance, the American artist, who is making his Singapore debut, unleashes a trio of robots programmed to interact with viewers. Exploring boundaries of personal space in both social settings and online, Freedland invites the public to engage with his robotic surrogates.
The life-size robotic performers—composed of digital facsimiles of the artist’s body, 3D-printed components, and electronics—roam the gallery, waiting for the audience to interact with them. Equipped with electronic sensors and motors that allow them to react to the surroundings, Freedland’s mechanical doppelgängers are programmed to engage with anyone who enters their “personal” space.
Constantly pushing boundaries and evaluating his identity as an artist, Freedland grapples with a growing reliance on technology, where we are electronically tethered and regularly monitored by devices we voluntarily carry. Recent grant-funded research has Freedland designing and building 3D printers and scanners and exploring the use of open source technologies to develop new ideas.
Raised in Detroit, Michigan, home to the American auto industry, Freedland has been surrounded by large-scale industrial machines since childhood. Throughout his career he has created machines and programmed them to produce symbols of his identity, using his thumbprint or DNA. Recent work includes an army of machines, extensions of Freedland himself, which compose drawings in response to stimuli from the gallery audience.
Barry Freedland's work has been exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Blüetenweiss Gallery, Berlin; the Boston Center for the Arts; Real Art Ways, Hartford, Connecticut; Arlington Museum of Art, Texas; Santa Fe Institute of Art, New Mexico; and the Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida. Previous projects have been funded by the MetLife Foundation, Berkshire Taconic Trust, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, State of Florida Department of Cultural Affairs and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Articles on Freedland's work have been published in international publications.
This special performance will be on view in the main gallery space for seven days. The exhibition is accompanied by painting and photography by gallery artists, including Edward Burtynsky, Annie Leibovitz and Ricardo Mazal. This group show of gallery artists will be on view until January 11, 2015.