Re-Places robot

Artists in Residence Carolin Liebl and Nikolas Pfähler Schmid have successfully completed the artwork they started during their EASTN-DC residency in Cardiff School of Art and Design in October 2019.

Derived from the prototype Spitting Bot, here is how Carolin and Nikolas introduce their new robot Re-Places

RE:PLACES, installation, 2021, extruder, motors, sensors, metal, plastics, 1,5 x 1,7 x 1,5 m (robot size).

At the beginning of the performative installation RE:PLACES, the space is already characterised by sculptures with expressive shapes and colours. On closer inspection, the objects show properties that seem untypical of their materiality – massive plastic that forms multicoloured, abstract structures and sometimes throws bubbles at the surface. The chunks, which consist of different types of plastic, originate from industrial production, where they arise as waste products from the cleaning of machines.

Moving through this scenery is a complex construction reminiscent of a planetary lander on three legs. In a branched funnel system, it transports different coloured granules made from plastic waste. The plastic material is heated and compressed in a cylindrical extruder in the centre of the robot and swells out as a colourful mass. The hot material curves and twists until it cools and solidifies into its final form. In creative processes lasting several minutes, the 1.70m high robot sheds the plastic objects and spreads them around the exhibition space like three-dimensional brush strokes.

The result is a variety of intertwined forms with glass-like surfaces and fascinating colour transitions – material properties that are not usually associated with plastic. The visual and haptic experiences enable an intuitive and aesthetic approach to the thematic complex around plastic and its problematic use. A new perspective on the materiality is stimulated to promote public discourse on plastics.

The title of the installation RE:PLACES is short for ‘Recycling PLA Closed-Circuit Extrusion Shaper’. The objects created during an exhibition can serve as raw material again and thus close the cycle.

The work was realised within the framework of the EMARE programme of the “European Media Art Platform” at FACT with the support of the “Creative Europe Culture Programme” of the European Union.

The research was supported within the framework of the duo’s EASTN-DC Residency at Cardiff Metropolitan University with support by the Creative Europe Culture Programme of the European Union.

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