With choreographed dance moves and a dazzling display of light, one may find it hard to believe that Ada, Conrad Shawcross’ rhythmic robot, has not always been the dancing droid that she is today.
Prior to her starring role in Shawcross’ Ada Project, the bot started out as an industrial apparatus in a factory. Repurposed and reprogrammed by Shawcross, Ada – named after Ada Lovelace, a 19thcentury mathematician – is now so much more than a cog in a machine.
For The Ada Project, Shawcross commissioned four female artists to compose music to accompany Ada’s dancing. Rather than establishing a soundtrack and then tweaking Ada’s movements accordingly, Shawcross has opted for a different approach: to present Ada to the composers as a means to “inspire, rather than be determined by, the pieces of music”. After observing Ada’s gestures, each musician created a tune to complement her mechanized movements, elevating Ada from lowly piece of machinery to jazzed-up muse. Now, as an instrumental and illuminated installation, Ada marches to the beat of her own drummer – literally.
Check out Conrad Shawcross’ The Ada Project at the Vinyl Factory now through 31 October!