In 2020 the !brute_force installation served as a stage for Smrekar and her canine co-performers to climb on, while artificial intelligence algorithms analyzed their breathing, body temperature, and heartbeat. The data was collected in the cloud and used in 2021 as the basis for developing a soft robot with mesh reinforced silicone that morphs and deforms from a flat 2D surface into ever-changing 3-dimensional organic abstract shapes, using pressurized air. Its dynamic movement behaviors reactivate spatial-temporal patterns emerging from the entangled, yet isolated, human-to-nonhuman collaborative performance. Rather than mimicking the abstraction of capital that thrives from all life – through work and force – being directly transformed into (inflated) power, the intercrossing human-dog-AI-robot constellation establishes frames of reference that assert the distributed, networked, and open-ended character of evolution, turning segregation into autonomy and circumventing emergent technologies and their aims.

Maja Smrekar & Jonas Jørgensen, !Cartesian Shell (2021), soft robotic tile prototype, 8x73x69cm.

Exhibited at: Ars Electronica Festival (2021), Cluj Cultural Centre (Cluj, Romania) (2022), Centre for Contemporary Art Laznia (Gdansk, Poland) (2022), BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts (Brussels, Belgium) (2022)

!Cartesian Shell, Maja Smrekar (SI), Jonas Jørgensen (DK), Photo credits:, Jonas Jørgensen