Autonomous wheelchair with proximity detectors. Donald Rodney, 1997
Donald Rodney was a prominent black British
artist, who died in 1998 from sickle-cell anaemia. The debilitating
condition informed his work, standing as a metaphor for the social
disease of apartheid and racial discrimination. This
‘autonomous’ wheelchair was originally made for Donald
Rodney’s final exhibition, which he was unable to attend due to ill
health. Made with the assistance of the Centre for Robotics at the
University of Plymouth, it is programmed to roam the gallery, at
once both compensating for and increasing our awareness of the
artist’s absence. Rendered even more poignant since Rodney’s death,
Psalms is both a memoir and as an unsettling presence –an
enhancement acting independently of its owner.
With special thanks to Guido Bugmann.