On the Body is the first presentation of new works by Random International in New York since The Museum of Modern Art hosted Rain Room in 2013. These works of art explore how we perceive and process visual information, especially as it relates to the human form and our own reflection.
On the Body reveals the latest works created by Random International, here exhibited together for the first time. This experimental body of work offers physical manifestations of the relationships between humanity and machines through a diverse visual, material and technological vocabulary. Self and Other (2016) is a sculpture of large, evenly spaced glass sheets embedded with a grid of LED lights. The piece reacts to human presence by reflecting the onlooker’s full length, three-dimensional form in light, but with a slight delay. Evolving from the scenography Random International created for Wayne McGregor’s 2010 contemporary dance production FAR, Small Study / I (FAR) distorts its own surface through moving light and falling shadow. Blur Mirror (2016) and Fragments / I (2016) are both made of numerous mirrored squares arranged to form larger, framed mirrors. Questioning how we see ourselves, these mechanized mirrors react to human presence in unexpected ways.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is the first public display of Fifteen Points / I (2016), a human-scale sculpture made up of industrial robotic arms that move simultaneously, each one mounted with a single LED light. Despite the undisguised mechanical principle, through the accuracy of their motion, these points of light align to create the perceived form of an animated being walking through space. Fifteen Points is the result of Random International’s ongoing research into motion, representation, perception, and the borders between animate and mechanical movement. This kinetic sculpture was produced following the collective’s residency at the biomimetic robotics division of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, facilitated by Le Laboratoire. This sculpture and the smaller Study for Fifteen Points / I (2016), which is also on display, explore the instinctual ability to perceive the human form in motion with only minimum visual information, deciphering even the subtlest nuances based on those movements.