THE DAILY PIC: Think yesterday’s Pic was strange? I’ll give you strange. I caught this new piece by Jordan Wolfson, titled “Female Figure”, yesterday at David Zwirner, a few days before the end of its run. “All” it is is a superbly crafted animatronic sculpture of a woman that dances for a few minutes as you watch, its every motion perfectly matching the motions of a real human being … with pole-dancing skills. (Click on the image to see her – sorry, it – move.) Most eerie of all – what makes it seem utterly alive – is the way its gaze locks with yours and then follows your eyes wherever you go in the room. You’re glad this femme fatale is tethered to her mirror (getting a woman to bipedal around in high heels is still beyond the reach of robotics, as it’s almost beyond the reach of flesh and blood) because if she were free to approach as she pleased, you’d have to take off running. (Note that perfect facial expressions are also beyond robotics, and Wolfson hides that fact by giving his figure a mask.)
Should most of the credit for this piece go to the engineers rather than the artist? Is it just a way-cool piece of tech? Sure – but remember that once upon a time, perspective was “just” a new technology, as were oil paints, but the first examples of their use count as landmark works of art.
I am also perfectly aware of the real and vital feminist issues that our android raises, and her ties to the cheesiest traditions of bad SciFi. But I’m afraid that I can’t keep all that in mind once her hips start swiveling. (Courtesy Jordan Wolfson, David Zwirner, New York, and Sadie Coles HQ, London)
The Daily Pic also appears at blogs.artinfo.com/the-daily-pic. For a full inventory of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.