WE HELP YOU FIND COOL ART AROUND THE CITY

First up: Save pho­tos from this ro­botic arm

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - NEWS - TEXT AND PHO­TOS BY CHRIS HAMPTON FOR METRO

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.

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