Entertainment Local

Colborne Art Gallery to show Robot Home Movies

By Monika Devine, For Northumberland Today

Submitted photo
Rod Bergeron's family of robots sits down to watch home movies of themselves.

Submitted photo Rod Bergeron's family of robots sits down to watch home movies of themselves.

COLBORNE - 

The future is now at The Colborne Art Gallery.

Starting Oct. 3, member artist Rod Bergeron will be presenting something that has never before entered this historic building: robots.

Bergeron’s project, Robot Home Movies, began as one of many projects he undertook while studying sculpture/installation at OCAD University.

“I often work on multiple projects simultaneously,” Bergeron says. “Doing this gives all of my projects some linkage between each other. That is the situation with Robot Home Movies. I was facing the end of a large body of work, called the War Machine Projects, (which) had forced me into an area of study referred to as post-humanism. I studied the idea of what it really meant to be human.”

The notion of post-humanism may sound a bit like some dystopian near-future novel, but the robots Bergeron has built appear surprisingly laid-back. As the title suggests, these robots will be right at home in the gallery’s Media Room, watching home movies of themselves. This decidedly domestic activity is fitting for what is, in fact, a family of robots; a male, a female, a baby and a dog.

Each robot features a vintage camera for a head, and parts from old TVs, computers and typewriters have been integrated into their bodies. They can stand and articulate much as living humans do, though for the purpose of this exhibition, they will only be seen moving around in their movies.

The movies themselves are a combination of stop-motion and video, prepared with an iPhone and an iPad, documenting the robots as they carry on in daily life. Bergeron has also written and produced all the music for the movies on his iPad.

An additional project that has spun off from the robots and movies was the creation of a small graphic novel set, documenting Bergeron’s thoughts and processes of creating the robots. These “nano-novels” are an indication of what may be a future area of study for the artist.

Rather than making art that is intended for sale, Bergeron prefers to push the limits with his creativity. The media he explores varies from painting and wood-carving to found objects and electronics.

“For me,” he says, “it's more important to create art that stimulates a conversation or forces people to objectively question what it is they believe in, than it is to make art that someone can purchase and put in their home.”

For an artist like Rod Bergeron, looking toward the future is not necessarily a pessimistic undertaking, nor an overly enthusiastic consumption of the latest gadgets. Rather, it is a close examination of humanity, belief, and interaction with technology. It is extending the world of possibilities, while seeking a greater understanding of where we’ve been. The truest hints of what tomorrow may bring can be found in this experimental artist’s studio, amongst the dismantled technology of yesterday.

Robot Home Movies opens on Saturday, Oct. 3, alongside Irene Osborne’s exhibition, Views from Here, with a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Bergeron will be on hand to talk about his project.

All are welcome, admission is free and the gallery is wheelchair accessible.

Regular gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday, 12 noon to 5 p.m., and the show runs from Oct. 3 to Nov. 8.

For more information, please visit www.thecolborneartgallery.ca or phone 905-355-1798.