November 2–13, 2011
GALLERY 1313 Main and Process Gallery
The Message participates in Toronto’s marking of Marshall Mcluhan’s centennial, featuring artworks which commemorate and reflect on the constant impact of his theoretical legacies. Tribot, a continuation of Stedman’s ongoing effort to create artificial life in the form of companions, is comprised of a dog, a man, and a robot, all confined in one white-walled room. The interactions of the three are recorded, and the exhibition displays this video documentation alongside the now inactive robot. With a focus on behavioural rather than visual elements, Stedman’s robot is meant to instigate social relations, in this case with the dog, to see how it (or someone) will react to artificial life as opposed to interactions with that which is “real.” Stedman’s work comes across as a playful experiment, with the unruly behaviour of the dog, and the amusement of Stedman as mediator, provoking laughter. Yet Tribot holds great intrigue, as it underlines the increasingly present tensions in our contemporary framework between that which is alive and that which is lifelike.