Man, Machine, Viewer, Object: The work of cybernetics artist Geoffrey Drake-Brockman

Artist Geoffrey Drake-Brockman’s expertise and vast creativity belong to two niches that, when brought together, seem to manifest unlimited possibility. He combines the forces of computer programming and fine art, commenting on both the human condition and, more directly, viewer response, by exhibiting pieces that create an environment and experience in and of themselves. Although he once saw the fields of computation and art as completely divergent, he has since begun to recognize their ability to complement one another. 

His first major piece was created in 2001, combining an artistic vision with computational realization, and was entitled Chromeskin(collab. R Kuhaupt). This piece – which was shown at the National Gallery of Australia – consisted of a chrome-plated sculpture of a human form, accompanied closely by an animated digital rendering of the same form. The relationship and tension created between these physical and cyber territories have informed much of Drake-Brockman’s work going forward, and can even be seen as an important stepping stone in the history of digital artwork. 

While experimenting with several other light-, laser-, cyber-, and sculpture-based works, Drake-Brockman developed new artistic processes that paralleled the rapidly advancing technology available to him. Soon came Floribots, which debuted at the National Gallery of Australia in 2005. As he puts it, “Floribotsuses technology in a non-fetishistic way. It is colorful and emotionally active, though its computational capability is core to its expressive action.” This representation and utilization of technology was important to Drake-Brockman – he wasn’t interested in simply pushing technologies to their limits as a spectacle of human achievement, but rather using them in a sophisticated manner to demonstrate the humanistic relationships they have come to facilitate. The interactive installation showcases 128 robotic flowers working both individually and collectively, reacting to audience behavior and physical input, to explore the realities of societal living – blooming, wilting, and reblooming to simulate life’s endless narrative. It is just one example of Drake-Brockman’s interest in pushing boundaries as a multidisciplinary artist, exploring in detail everything from the materials he chooses to his selection of installation locations, which often go beyond the gallery and into the public domain. 


Carly Zinderman

Carly Zinderman is a Senior Staff Writer for JustLuxe, based just outside of Los Angeles, CA. Since graduating from Occidental College with a degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies, she has written on a variety of topics for books, magazines and online publications, but loves fashion and style best. In her spare time, when she?s not writing, Carly enjoys watching old movies, reading an...(Read More)

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