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Guy Marsden

Artwork Engineering

 
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George Stone
1993
"Unknown, Unwanted, Unconscious, Untitled"
 

First shown in it's entirety at the Ruth Bloom Gallery in Santa Monica, CA in 1993.
Since that show 3 of the individual pieces were sold and
portions of the whole installation were shown in several other locations:

Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA.  July 23 - October 5, 1997
Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CA.  October 24, 1998 - January 3, 1999
Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CA.  April 15 - July 8, 2001

This unnerving work consisted of 11 objects that appeared to be black rubber
body bags connected to the ceiling by thick black rubber hoses.


Entering the room one finds that these sculptural works are moving.
One is struck by the discord between the implication of death and the apparent
life within these bags as they move occasionally; as if in sleep, struggling
to escape their confinement, erotically engaged or quivering from withdrawal.


George developed life size skeletons made from aluminum, steel, plastic,
motors and machine parts that had between 30 and 60 degrees of movement
at each joint.  His studio began to look like a  creepy horror movie set
strewn with animated mechanized skeletons...

The motion of each figure was controlled by powerful
AC gear motors with cams and drive shafts that mimicked musculature.
These motions included torso twist and lift, leg stretches, arm waving,
hip and shoulder movement and head turning.

He asked me to design a programmable control system for him
that would allow him to develop randomized movements for the
motors.  Using software that I wrote for his DOS based computer
George created 11 different "personalities" of edited randomized
movements for each of the bodies by interactively generating control
programs and then running them on the actual figure.

Using my software, George's process included generating the
random movements, watching and studying them, and finally editing in
the relevant organic gestures that would eventually define the distinct,
physically descriptive personalities of each individual piece.

The control circuitry that I designed was placed (appropriately) in the head
of each skeleton.  It consisted of 2 synchronized (left brain/right brain) circuit
boards each with an 8K EPROM chip containing a stored sequence of
moves that George had designed .

footnote:
George designed these pieces with a built-in life span that was
deliberately limited.  Mechanical systems fail in time as does the
human body, and some of these bodies have now expired, leaving
them frozen in time, in contorted positions, and representative of
the non-animated figurative tradition they originally grew out of.
 

Review: ArtForum, Feb, 1994 by Ralph Rugoff 

contact George Stone at:  portopietra@sbcglobal.net

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