Friday, July 17, 2009

Les Machines

(Vladimir Gvozdariki's rhino kept reminding me of Albrecht Durer's rhino, so thought I should put the two together)
Every now and then biologists discover strange-new, never before seen animal specimens (my personal favourite being Macropinna microstoma) that have evolved in isolation from rest of the world and challenge taxonomical tables through their glass tentacles, sonar vision and telepathic brains. I have come to believe the same being true of Russian artists who seem to do their own thing untouched by global rhetoric art, making drawings and artwork that have reference points within their introvert floating islands.

(some very beautiful drawings by Vladimir Gvozdariki from his website of machine animals that seem to come out from some Industrial utopian world.)

One such newly discovered specimen is artist Vladimir Gvozdariki whose mechanical animal drawings continue to intrigue me. Like the animal machines of Les Machines de L'Ile Nantes the drawings seem to graft mechanical details to appendages, eyes and metal plates that form the skin.

(Vladimir Gvozdariki's drawing of elephant with a photograph of the Great Elephant of Les Machines de L'Ile Nantes in London. The Elephant Celebes by Max Earnst is one such drawing that collaged the animal and machine together in surreal dreamlike world)

The machine becomes the animal, as if the drawings mirror Rene' Descartes’ Animals are Machines, that further blur the dialectics between nature and machine.
Another artist fusing animals and machines is Mike Libby whose website "Insect Lab" describes its work as "Insect Lab customizes real insect specimens with antique watch parts and other technological components. From ladybugs to grasshoppers, each is individually hand adorned, and original- a unique celebration of the contradictions and confluences between nature and technology." But coincidentally these speculative futures and art projects seem to have just been appropriated by the US military attempting to develop "insect cyborgs"! Somehow some very powerful entrepreneurship always have a knack of destroying everything beautiful and putting it for sale on E-Bay.

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