Artist Agnieszka Pilat is not any stranger to working alongside machines. The self-confessed “tech optimist” is finest recognized for her haunting artworks that depict mechanical components and, extra notably, for the three A.I. robotic canines she has educated to color semi-autonomously. However arriving at SpaceX’s Hawthorne facility in California for an artist residency, she instructed Artnet Information, has been an actual eye-opener.
“On this second of A.I. and the metaverse,” she mentioned, “it’s humbling to see precise large machines being moved round.” Since August, the Polish-American artist has been onsite for her second residency on the spacecraft producer based by Elon Musk. After I reached her by cellphone this week, she had simply began on her new collection of tech-minded works, aimed toward reflecting what she referred to as “profound shifts in American tradition and trade.”
Extra particularly, Pilat’s new portraits middle on the hatch of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, the hermetic entry level of a spacecraft, which is offered to her when it’s not in use in astronaut coaching. Within the artist’s work, the thing shall be depicted with a hallowed reverence, as her means of drawing parallels between know-how and spirituality.
“When you consider faith and know-how, they actually share the identical artwork of seduction in a means,” she mentioned. “They each have darkness and lightness to them. They each supply a greater future.”
The works see Pilat borrow liberally from non secular iconography, utilizing gold leaf to create a halo across the illustrated hatch, emphasizing its spherical kind to echo “the promise of immortality,” she mentioned. The portraits are additionally diptychs, permitting her to discover the dualities of each know-how and faith—the promise and pitfalls, heaven and hell.
Quite a lot of the work are certain for SpaceX’s designer studio and coaching area, whereas others, Pilat plans to exhibit in her native Poland, the place Christianity has sturdy roots.
The SpaceX residency, which Pilat foresees will go on by means of 2024, precedes her upcoming presentation on the Nationwide Gallery of Victoria’s Triennial in December in Australia. It’s a serious art-world appointment for an artist who has largely been collected by the Silicon Valley crowd and linked with tech corporations together with Boston Dynamics. Over three months on the Australia present, Pilat’s robotic canines shall be portray autonomously inside a white dice, executing pre-programmed instructions.
These robo-dogs could considerably function Pilar’s collaborators, however in human phrases, her work has largely been solitary. Therefore her delight on the camaraderie she’s discovered at SpaceX: “It’s a dedicated crew. Seeing folks maintaining their heads down and dealing at all times evokes me.”
Extra so, she has been motivated by SpaceX’s mission—akin to a non secular hope and fervor, she famous—to ship people into area.
“Individuals listed here are actually dedicated to sending males to Mars. I discover it inspiring in that I can put my little issues into perspective if one thing doesn’t work out,” she added. “You understand, it’s the Kennedy second: we’re doing it as a result of it’s troublesome. We’re going to the moon as a result of it’s troublesome. I actually really feel it right here.”
See extra photos from Pilat’s residency beneath.
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