WE HELP YOU FIND COOL ART AROUND THE CITY
First up: Save photos from this robotic arm
Photographs, especially those from our personal collections, are loaded objects.
“They’re like mnemonic devices that help tell our personal and family stories,” Max Dean explains.
As Yet Untitled is an interactive installation composed mainly of an industrial robotic arm, a stack of found family photographs, a conveyor belt, a paper shredder, and a sensor shaped like two hands.
The arm plucks a single 4x6 photo from the hopper and turns it around to reveal the image.
The viewer then has the option to “save” the photo by touching the sensor.
If the viewer has indeed decided to intervene, the arm will place the picture on a stack of “saved” photographs to its side.
Otherwise, the robot will continue its duty and lower the picture into the shredder below and the waste will be conveyed to a growing mound of ribboncut snapshots.
After undergoing a considerable restoration project at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where it was installed in 1996, As Yet Untitled is on view now at the Ryerson Image Centre until Aug. 13. The work runs as long as the gallery is open, whether there’s anyone in the room or not.
The artwork, Dean says, considers the very project of museums: selecting and storing our cultural heritage. “What do they select and why do they select it?”
When a viewer saves a photo from As Yet Untitled’s shredder, it doesn’t get shuffled back into the hopper at the end of the day.
Instead, the decision is respected; it becomes a part of the piece and enters the AGO’s archives.
THE MACHINE This robotic arm is installed in the installation As Yet Untitled at the Ryerson Image Centre. It presents a photo to the viewer for consideration.
THE SHREDDER Photos that didn’t pass muster with viewers are destined for the scrap heap, thanks to this shredder.
THE PHOTOS Whether the photos will be saved is in your hands.