"We have just folded space from Ix... Many machines on Ix.... New machines."
The Third Stage Guild Navigator to Emperor Shaddam IV, from the Dune Trilogy, by Frank Herbert, 1965.
I surprise myself in a place I wouldn´t have expected to be. This residency, in relation to the building of a new community at North West Cambridge, coupled with the Engineering Department, is like a journey to the heart of my beast.
In my practice, the works aim to be like an antidote, or force in opposite direction to that ideology of modernity in which progress is associated with urbanisation, commodification and privatisation, and often imposed by law or by steel.
Even before developing my artistic practice, I entered public debates with genetic engineers about the future of agriculture, and the countryside.
While engineering seems to develop sophisticated mechanisms and infrastructural solutions, to me it seemed an entropic force: disintegrating the balance of complex systems into chaos, energy waste and material maelstrom. If the primeval soup led to the eden of diversity of life and self-adjusting systems, engineering and development seem to lead to the posthumous purée.
The fixation with that primeval state, is like a praise of past times. All childhood times were happier, and a repeated sentence if we walk, slowly, together with an aged person is: "all this was countryside".
Is nostalgia what makes us uneasy, difficult to accept what the technical development brings? The price to pay. The quality of landscapes, of social exchange. The quality of life, under question, and the promise of leisure, wealth and liberation of human pains that machines embody. Machines are our superpowers.
I look at the farming fields, hedges, at the sunset light. I try to imagine a new town, streets and buildings. I am possessed by the horrific grandiosity, what was called sublime, of the powers of Man. The idea, the conviction, the reasoning, the action and completion of a plan. A marvelously effective agent. Measured on human parameters. For our good. Where is this unease coming from then?