People project human traits onto objects. Size, shape, sound, and movement give an object a personality, or so we think. In this work, I use a common object, the tin can, to explore our anthropomorphic vision and understandings of personality. I have automated a group of cans that look alike on the outside, but the mechanisms are different on the inside. The cans make different sounds and move in different ways, and their individual behaviors and group interactions invite the construction of personalities. What personalities are constructed, and what do the categories and constructs reveal about us?
Cans 1 & 2. . 3 & 4 . 5 & 6 . 7 & 8 . 9 & 10 . 11
1 12v motor, 2 6v motors, Motor's from game controler rumble pack, 5 3v motors, 1 stepper motor, Tilt switches, Toggle switches, Single AA battery connector, Double AA battery connector, Quad AA battery connector, 9v Battery connector, Coin cell battery connector, Eleven One-Quart Tin Paint Cans, 3 Gear Box, 1 Planetary Gear Box, 2 Wine Corks
Canned Personalities began as a modification of the game, Kick the Can. I set out to modify the can used in the game to make the game more exciting. I wanted to make the can move on its own. I fabricated a plastic, automated can, but discovered that the can had to be watched and could not really be kicked. The can’s plastic exterior and fragile automation transformed the inexpensive tin can that could be kicked down the street into an object that had to be kept safely on a shelf. It could only be observed. The can was technical, whimsical, and critical, and the modification offered a commentary: new material and technology can destroy a game instead of improving it. Prototypes for the can moved in distinctive ways, and this suggested a new direction. The prototypes had personalities, so I decided to make a series of cans that explored the construction of personality. I automated eleven paint cans, giving each a distinctive sound and movement, and released them in a gallery. Those who observed the cans projected human traits and personalities onto the cans. The work prompted observers to consider how personalities are constructed and what personality categories and constructs reveal about us. I intend to move forward with various reiterations of the work, with greater attention to the use of sound, perhaps turning the cans into percussive instruments.
Crit photos taken by Lucas Roy
Sep. 28th to Oct. 14th 2007: PIXILERATIONS [v.4]: STORIES +/- ORNAMENT a showcase of digital media and interactive performance, The Space at Alice.
Added to Rhizome's ArtBase Sep. 13, 2007 http://rhizome.org/object.php?o=47099&m=1047044