Rocker @ Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine

dismantling rocker

Rocker trapped in an airport vitrine

I took my Robot "Rocker" to be part of the "Colis Suspect" project hosted by the artist-run-centre Admare in the aeroport des îles-de-la-Madeleine January-February

ile rocker from Beatriz Herrera on Vimeo.

Lleve el Robot "Rocker" a un aeropuerto chiquitito en un grupo de siete islas afuera en la Gaspé, las islas de la Madeleine durante Enero y Febrero 2015. El proyecto "Colis Suspect" (paquete sospechoso) es organizado por el centro de arte actual, Admare. Las islas son increibles, y la gente super amable y con toneladas de energia para promover la cultura. Fue una experiencia interesante de instalar una de mis maquinas en ese espacio fluorescente y gris, al lado de la zona de seguridad con multitudes entrando y saliendo de la isla todos los dias. Creo que los aeropuertos son espacios de purgatorio contemporaneo en que nos quitan nuestras identidades. Me gustaria instalar mas maquinas en aeropuertos!

I'm totally fascinated by the purgatorial non-space of airports. They're places where Holiday seekers, immigrants, and business people congregate, momentarily stunned with sleep and stripped of their usual selves.

We don't know what's in the hold next to our baggage, apparently quite a lot of salmon and sheep and roses.  I've sat next to political fanatics, ballet dancers, rich brats, nuns, and salmon farmers,  As an immigrant kid who travelled back to Chile to stay with my grandparents in the summers, airports were also intensely, emotionally charged.  I remember almost crying with delighted relief when I would catch sight of my grandmother waiting.

The tiny rural airport at îles-de-la-Madeleine was one large,fluorescent-lit room:  baggage claim, Air Canada, Pascan air, a car-rental desk, a vending machine with cold coffee, potato chips, chocolate bars, security check-in - my robot- and nothing else.

It was an amazing landscape and an even more amazing group of people that seemed happy to volunteer their energy in order to make things happen on the island.  I was so surprised to see a small crowd of people come out in the middle of snow wind storm to the vernissage on Saturday morning. And everyone was amazingly patient with my poor French, and still tried to speak to me.

My flight back to Montréal was 31 hours late because of winter storms, which ordinarily would've been fine, but I had to install the show Robotis Personae at the Eastern Bloc the same week! It was hilarious, disastrous timing. But unavoidable.

In a way, this was another test for me.

The thing with trying to build robots is that their punch comes from being able to interact with humans in the world not just the experimental, carefully framed space, of an art gallery.  This is what I'm working towards.

Even if I'm not there yet.

Rocker in the airport vitrine


Beatriz Alejandra Herrera is a Montreal-based visual artist who loves robotics, electronic arts, and contemporary drawing practices.