Maladjusted Ecosystem presents a perverse ecology of four unique robots, each of whom is dependent on another for its ‘survival’. When the Light Seeking Robot finds an intense pool of light, it sends a radio signal to the Line Drawing Robot which commences drawing. When the Line Reading Robot discovers such a line, it signals to the Light Emitting Robot which directs light in a semi-random way on the table. The four robots are locked in a perverse four-part co-dependent relationship. This work is thus a witty response to the ponderously instrumental nature of multi-robot systems research encountered in many robotics labs. This vein of satirical nihilism links Maladjusted Ecosystem with the tradition of modernist gestures of machine nihilism by Man Ray, Jean Tinguely, Ed Keinholz, Nam Jun Paik and others. Employing robotic technologies, Maladjusted Ecosystem shifts this discourse from the modes of pictorial depiction and mechanical action to the performative and behavioral.
About the author
After studying new media at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) in Toronto, Canada, Jessica Field pursued her interests in electronic arts and in micro-controller programming. Her enthusiasm for this field led her to teach robotics to children as part of the Children’s Technology Workshop in Toronto, as well as provide technical assistance and information to OCAD students.
Her first robots, Autonomous Robot, If it was broken, it would be simple, but it is not and Personal Scale were exhibited beginning in 1999 at the 401 Gallery in Toronto. On February 26, 2001, within the context of an interventionist art project, she brought the Stumbling Robot to the Pickering Town Centre, a shopping mall, and documented the robot’s precarious steps on video. In order to focus her attention on the interactions between the curious public and the robot, she removed herself from the scene in such a way that it was impossible to link her with the robot. On June 1, 2002, on an invitation from the Pickering Arts Festival, she allowed the Stumbling Robot to wander around the exhibition space.
The artist makes use of robotic and cybernetic principles to establish a parallel between the machine and the human behavior that results from an externally imposed adaptation to the environment.