Artisan Series     each of the four: 2018, UV-cured pigment on polycarbonate, mechanism, strobe; 46"x46"x4"

With this series, I question future machine empathy through a familiar machine of today: the KitchenAid Artisan mixer. This mixer is a symbol of home: my mom baked often with the iconic mixer’s help as I do today for my own family. Its name is ironic, however – an artisan is a skilled craftsperson who works with his/her hands, but the mixer automates the tasks of the hands, replacing them by improving upon their efficiency and usefulness.

In Artisan Care, Giver brain-like lumps of rising and contracting dough cascade from the artwork’s center, transforming into baked bread behind a ring of mechanized peepholes. Formed by rotating mixer parts, the apertures provide a view of Artisan kids galloping around their mixer-mother. Artisan Care, Giver serves as a kind of prayer-mandala to help the hope that our technological offspring will love, care, and provide. Artisan Orphan depicts machine-offspring abandoned by stampeding grown-ups. Artisan Obsolescence shows a frantic kinetic collage of hands attempting to reclaim their usefulness by futilely emulating the motions of the machine that replaced them. I began the series with the creation of Artisan #1, a collection of every motion I could create with the KitchenAid mixer.  

Futurist Ray Kurzweil observed that “The emergence of the first technology-creating species resulted in the new evolutionary process of technology.” Intelligent machines are created through and with logic structures (self-evolving software) while humans are created through biological, emotional, and physical processes. Will an intelligent technological species express empathy for their own creations/offspring? And as machine intelligence exceeds our own, will they care and provide for us, their original creators?