In the finest recycled_tech fashion, Mekanarky is a converted Sydney ice cream factory now functioning as an art studio collective with traditional painting, animation, printmaking, jewellery and more. Distinguishing it from other collectives though, they feature a strong strand of robotic and mechanical art – much of which will be in full swing at their 3rd birthday this weekend ( details below ) Robo-welder and mech_animator, Dillon MacEwan explains more.
What did u do with the Mutoid Waste Co?
I first connected with the mutoids through varous ex mutoids based in SPINNINGJENNY.jpgEdinburgh while I was building metal and fire sculptures for Beltane – a free festival in the middle of the city. Through various affilliates I went on a mission to track them down in Italy, and travelled around with various of them doing the Euro free festival circuit for a couple of summers. I’ve since done collaborative work with various artists who’ve been through the mutoid ranks – sculpture projects, festival shows, and helping set up robodock – an industrial art festival in Holland.
Some favourite Mutoid moments?
Setting up techno free zones at technivals, and seeing what’s in all these hard core techno DJ’s “other” record collections. Any other moments are too incriminating for print.
How has your work with Mekanarky evolved from there?
I used to sculpt small plastic invertebrates and encephalopods, but now I’m building fully articulated quadroped, I hope to be onto pneumatic primates and sentient automatons by the end of next year.
What attracts you to robotics?
I was always inspired by the sci fi genre of the 30’s with the mad scientist building a robot army to take over New York. I like to build art that does something, has some interactive quality about it – I like trying to emulate complex movement by reducing them to an accumulation of simple mechanical processes. I think we’re surrounded by machines we take for granted – in using recognisable components from these, and building them into monster and imaginary creatures, I like to think I give the viewer a sense of mechanical wonder – and leave all the mechanics and robotics bare to enhance the juxtoposition of machine emulating living beings.
The attraction comes from a bunch of places, from science fiction movies and comics like 2000ad to the buzz I get from inventing and problem solving, to the effect of interactive “performance” based sculpture – or sculpture based performance has on the viewer. I feel it forces the observer to engage more in the art than static gallery based art.
What will you be doing at Mechropolis?
I’ll be presenting a couple of new mechanoids in a show involving robots by couple of other artists – Miles and Ben from Triclops, and Mike Turner – another mutoid affilliate. the mech’s are the first stage of a larger show I’ll be developing over the coming few months involving four or more mechanoids and their interactive computer based counterparts.
You’re looking for donations of old gas bottles, and a couple of rooted V8 engine blocks? What’s in store for them?
The blocks are for parts to build the drive mechanisms for more mechs, actually V6’s would be just as handy, the bottles are for fire sculpture set pieces.
And what are u looking forward to at the next MEKanarky event on Nov 20th?
Getting my dragon walking
MEKanarky turns 3 on Nov 20 with a massive party : Robots from Triclops & Dillon, Toy Death, Stelarc -Triclops & Mutoid showreels, a nail-gun shooting gallery! Kush Cabaret – gypsy cabaret, circus routines, Circusworks – physical theatre, Wildfire, Soosish, Rush Electra, the CELL pnuematic orchestra, SambaSK & more craziness : $15/$10 Conc. Donation
@ MEKanarky Studios, Cnr. Reede and Turrella St., Opposite Turrella Station.