In and Out of the Body and into the Machine
Presented by Berkeley Center for New Media.
Chico MacMurtrie's work pushes the boundaries between robotic sculpture, new media installation, and performance. Immersed in the Bay Areas Art and Technology Counterculture of the 1990s, he became known for his anthropomorphic, computer-controlled sculptures which evolved over the years into a Society of Machines. Today, operating out of his studio in Brooklyn, New York, also known as the Robotic Church, MacMurtrie is internationally recognized for his Inflatable Architectural Bodies series which explores the underlying essence of movement and transformation in organic and non-organic bodies. Freestanding or suspended in mid-air, these more recent servo-pneumatic soft-machines, inflate and deflate through an articulated series of movements, depicting imaginary molecular and cellular formations on a magnified scale. MacMurtrie is currently working on the Border Crossers, a series of inflatable robotic sculptures, which are designed to rise several stories high and arch over the U.S.-Mexico border and other borders around the world. Their choreographed performance would originate on both sides of the border and stage a symbolic gesture of unity and peace. Chico MacMurtrie and Amorphic Robot Works, an interdisciplinary collective he founded in 1991, are recognized for their monumental robotic sculptures and performative installations. They have received numerous awards for their experimental new media artworks, including five grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andy Warhol Foundation Grant, the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, VIDA Life 11.0, and Prix Ars Electronica. Chico MacMurtrie was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2016. MacMurtrie/ARWs works have been presented in major museums and venues around the world including the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), Beijing; Hayward Gallery, London; Museo de la Reina Sofia, Madrid; Cité des Sciences et delIndustrie, Paris; Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), Mexico City; Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY; Shanghai Biennale; Tri Postal, Lille,(retrospective exhibition), Muffatwerk, Munich; Ex-Dogana, Rome and ZHI Art Museum, Chengdu. Upcoming exhibitions include: Mundos Alternos, Art and Science Fiction in the Americas, Queens Museum, New York in 2019.