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After School

Teen Art Cooperative
Our Mission

The Mattress Factory is an artist-centered museum, international residency program and renowned producer and presenter of installation art. We say “yes” to artists, offering time and space to dream and realize projects in our hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. We invite audiences from around the world and around the corner to step inside, immerse and connect with the artistic process.

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Lauren Frances Adams & Jake Peterson

Space Invaders (Rat King)

This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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Artist Statement

An installation featuring a rat king* made of mobile robots that look like rodents. The robots will struggle against one another, though they are inextricably bound together by their tails and the ‘tail’ of tangled wires that supply power. The installation also features various visual elements that support a constructed mythology, related to the cryptozoology of rat kings with labor and technology gone awry (in the expanded mural form of the organizing principles of a circuit board drawing). Our project focuses on concepts of robotic labor and autonomy. We address this by expanding upon concepts that we have explored in the past including hypothetical dystopias, pop culture, labor, cryptozoology, and mythology, and the relationships between natural systems and the global expansion of automated labor processes.

*Rat kings are cryptozoological phenomena said to arise when a number of rats become intertwined at their tails, which become stuck together with blood, dirt, and excrement. The animals consequently grow together while joined at the tails, which are often broken. Most researchers presume the creatures are legendary and that all supposed physical evidence is hoaxed.



About The Artist

Lauren Adams (American, b. 1979) is currently a faculty member at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has a BFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. Her work varies through types of historical decorative forms such as drawing, digital manipulation, painting, and performance art. Adams' artwork focuses on topical issues such as colonialism and capitalism; and also focuses on Russian Revolutionary artists from the early 20th century, political propaganda, and the history of decorative arts.



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