A black mass, resembling a human leg, slowly moves across the floor. The mechanical leg, tethered to a stone by a rope, is quietly driven by wheels and motors. Sensing the tension in the rope, the onboard computer adjusts the motors’ speed to render a circumscribed path. As the leg circles, the stone also turns like a ticking clock. The installation resembles aspects of a horse mill, a chained dog, and a science fiction entity. Its motion carries the weight of unknown anticipation, wavering between the familiar and the strange, between comedy and gravity.
The work draws inspiration from two sources: “robota,” the Czech origin of the word “robot” and Sisyphus, who is condemned to push a boulder up a hill for eternity in Greek mythology. “Robota” translates to forced labor, just like Sisyphus who pushes the boulder up only for it to roll back down again. The work is an absurd comic about the repetitive daily routines that we perform, but it also asks serious questions about contemporary servitude in a capitalist society. With technological advancements and a widening wealth inequality, are we moving toward a better future?
Lastly, the work envisions a possible post-human state, where the machines are left to carry out previously programmed tasks in indefinite futility until its eventual breakdown into lifeless stones.
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