Three machines comprising Smoking Bolts occupy the walls of the Artspace gallery clearly marking new painting compositions that change progressively throughout the duration of the exhibition. These painting robots are operated remotely by the artist in New Zealand and by Artspace staff to enact a trans-Tasman painting collaboration that reframes painting’s traditional mode of production. The machines leave a constant trace of their presence as a reference to the open dialogue between the artwork and contemporary technology. The title of the exhibition is derived from the culture of the heist, or break-in, where something valuable is snatched leaving nothing behind but the smoking bolts.
Smoking Bolts was presented at ISEA 2013 part of a suite of projects focused on experimental use of mechanisation (in particular robotics) in both representational construction and in furthering the impulse for deconstruction, even destruction. Collectively the projects presented both live processes and outcomes associated with robotics within contemporary practice, ranging across the construction and presentation of images and painted forms through to the erasure of architectural form and alteration of material structures.