Whoever said that art needed to be humorless, chin-stroking stuff most likely never strapped themselves to a giant industrial robot arm to be used as a human paintbrush for a big abstract painting.
One painter who was willing to subject himself to such treatment is 68-year-old Serbian artist Dragan Ilic. The work in question is dubbed DI-2K4, and it’s a statement on mankind’s ever-increasing subservience to the machine world.
It’s an impressive display, which is as much about the creation of the work itself as it is about the finished product. According to a write-up of the work, the machine had its exact moves programmed in advance, although there remains the risk that it may not operate as planned — opening up the possibility of “serious injury or even … the possible death of the artist.”
“The performative act of drawing or painting ceases to be an exclusively human activity and this simulation on the whole suggests to us both the repetitiveness involved in technological production, as well as representing a new stage of ritual or transgressive experiences of the author himself,” wrote art historian Vladimir Bjeličić in his appraisal of the work. “It is in this constellation in which the machine controls and steers man — as he is trying to steer and guide the trace being made over the white surface – that these robotized compositions are created (on the floor or wall), compositions which require in their very procedure the assuming of an associative perspective.”
Okay, so there’s a bit of humorless chin-stroking about the whole thing, but it still looks like it’d be a heap of fun. Even if it is a possible glimpse into how Skynet’s more artistic Terminators will treat us when the inevitable rise of the machines takes place.