The Lovers

by Patricia Piccinini ( 2011 )

The Lovers follows on from a number of works that explore the idea of nature rendered in mechanical form. These works wonder at the naturalisation of technology in contemporary life, and imagine a life-cycle for machines that is closer to that of animals. In doing so, it evokes the increasingly ‘natural’ place that technology occupies in our lives, but also the growing role that technology plays in the natural world. In a world where we get our food from the supermarket, the cow becomes a ‘milk machine’ and the milk itself the product of a mechanised process where the animal is just one small biological cog in a much larger aparatus. However, in depicting the scooters as wild animals rather than domesticated ones - deers rather than sheep - the work also suggests a world of technology that is beyond our mastery. I have several motivations for making these works. On one level, I simply love the forms. The sinuous curves and perfect glossy surfaces are the illogical conclusion of contemporary automotive attractiveness but they also evoke the voluptuousness of modernist sculpture. Beyond that, I also feel that these wild machine creatures undercut our basic assumption that technology is always within our control. This idea is at the core of our beliefs about it and is assumed to be true, but I sometime wonder if that is really so. I love the idea that The Lovers is a snapshot from an ecology of mechanical wildlife that we will never see. This particular work has softness and intimacy that contradicts the glossy hardness of the surfaces and materials. The work depicts a couple, suggesting the potential for reproduction, which ultimately denotes independence, a life in which people are no longer necessary.