FILE Vitoria 2017 – Sesi Art Gallery

ADA – analogue interactive kinetic sculpture

Similar to Tinguely’s “Méta-Matics”, “ADA” is an artwork with a soul. It acts itself. At Tinguely’s it is sufficient to be an unawarely struggling mechanical being. He took it wryly: the machine produces nothing but its industrial self-destruction. Whereas “ADA”, by Karina Smigla-Bobinski, is a post-industrial “creature”, visitor-animated, creatively acting artist-sculpture, self-forming artwork, resembling a molecular hybrid, such as a one from nanobiotechnology. It develops the same rotating silicon-carbon-hybrids, midget tools, miniature machines able to generate simple structures. “ADA” is much larger, esthetically much more complex, an interactive art-making machine. Filled up with helium, floating freely in the room, a transparent, membrane-like globe, spiked with charcoals that leave marks on the walls, ceilings and floors. Marks which “ADA” produces quite autonomously, although moved by a visitor. The globe obtains an aura of liveliness and its black coal traces, the appearance of a drawing. The globe put in action fabricates a composition of lines and points, which remains incalculable in their intensity, expression, form, however hard the visitor tries to control “ADA”, to drive her, to domesticate her. Whatever he tries out, he will notice very soon that “ADA” is an independent performer, studding the originally white walls with drawings and signs. More and more complicated fabric structures arise. It is a movement experienced visually, which, like a computer, makes an unforeseeable output after entering a command. Not in vain, “ADA” reminds of Ada Lovelace, who in the 19th century, together with Charles Babbage, developed the very first prototype of a computer. Babbage provided the preliminary computing machine, Lovelace the first software. A symbiosis of mathematics with the romantic legacy of her father, Lord Byron, emerged there. Ada Lovelace intended to create a machine that would be able to create works of art, such as poetry, music, or pictures, like an artist does. “ADA” by Karina Smigla-Bobinski stands in this very tradition, as well as in the one of Vannevar Bush, who built a Memex Machine (Memory Index) in 1930 (“We wanted the memex to behave like the intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain”), or the Jacquard’s loom, that in order to weave flowers and leaves needed a punch card; or the “analytic machine” of Babbage, which extracted algorithmic patterns. “ADA” uprose in nowadays spirit of biotechnology. She is a vital performance machine, and her patterns of lines and points get more and more complex as the number of the audience playing-in increases. Leaving traces which neither the artist nor the visitors are able to decipher, not to mention “ADA” herself. And still, “ADA’s” work is unmistakably potentially humane, because the only available decoding method for these signs and drawings is the association which our brain corresponds at the most when it sleeps: the truculent jazziness of our dreams.

Born in 1967 in Szczecin, Poland, she lives and works as a freelance artist in Munich and Berlin, Germany. She studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow/Poland and Munich, where she graduated in 2000 with a master’s degree. She works with analog and digital media and makes installations, interventions, objects, videos, stage and online projects. Her works were shown in 71 cities in 29 countries on five continents.