Copyright 2009

Grizedale Forest: a Vicious Rural Walking Machine Attacks an Art Critic.

I came to the residency with the specific plan of trying to make a walking machine sculpture - originally envisioning a fairly large, noisy, smelly machine, akin to a piece of old agricultural machinery. Equipment like chainsaws, diggers, winches, pumps, and all kinds of vehicles are as much a part of the forest ecology as trees, birds and animals. I wanted to make a piece that reflected this,working with a local metalworker to make a full-sized. At the same time I developed a multiple that got me into a lot of trouble - the "Magic Car" - and a series of "Art Parasites" - small automata that "fed" on the rotting remains of 1970's sculptures by Andy Goldsworthy lying around the forest, chipping away at them with vicious little claws.

In the event, I opted for a walking machine design that was smaller, lighter, with four legs one long arm which it used variously to fumble its way around and feel for obstacles and to lash out at anything that comes near it (including anyone who tried to turn it off again once it has been activated). Like previous self-propelled machines I have made it was essentially very stupid; In this case stupidity was combined with viciousness - the whole series of Parasites and Stupid Machines are, of course, not really representations of nature but of humanity.