Space Invaders (Rat King) 2008

Lauren Frances Adams and Jake Peterson
Gestures 11: Meet the Made, July 11 – August 31, 2008
mixed media

An installation featuring a rat king made of mobile robots that look like rodents The robots will struggle against one another though they are...

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 crytozoology 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 history of decorative arts.