Christiaan Zwanniken



According to the utopia of the bio-technological era, technology is an extension of our abilities. With complete control of technology over nature, we mould life in our own image. The flipside of this vision shows us to be extensions of machines into which we plug ourselves into everyday: it is not we who use technology, technology makes use of us. The wildness of nature makes place for the wildness of technology, producing unpredictable fusions of body and machine. How else could those dark, unstable, compounds of body and machine in Zwanikken’s sculptures see light? These are installations in which remnants of animals are brought to life through microprocessors. Or is it the other way round? The balance between visible technology and biological elements tip both ways.

Zwanikken’s installations are like interactive Wunderkammers, new configurations of shrieking, clapping, ticking curiosities generated by machinery, as if in a futuristic zoo. His works are hybrid, techno-animalistic figures, made of wire or cable that come to ‘life’, responding to the viewer and to each other. Zwanikken plays nature - against artificial - against viewer removing any authoritative role: his hierarchy is governed by a different order. Due to the unpredictability of the computer-aided elements, it is not certain who responds to whom, and who is looking or being looked at.

By making technology seem to be ‘out of control’, Zwanikken ironises the hype around interaction in media art and the illusion of smooth-running communications. His fusion of organic and inorganic materials melded with interactive technology demonstrates the evolution and de-evolution of sculpture in the twenty-first century.