Escapement

One of the first »inventions« by Nicola Tesla was a simple mechanism that used cockchafers as a means of propulsion – his early attempt at invention shows a fundamental human tendency to subdue nature and harness its forces. But young Tesla’s game also carries another, less utilitarian connotation – constructing something because of the sheer desire to create. A desire that ignores any practical value and opens itself to the freedom of dreams and the joy of creation.

With Escapement Meta Grgurevič continues to develop the contentual and formal bases indicated in her prior kinetic objects – mechanisms marked by lucid handmade aesthetics and technical perfection, which lyrically reflected the collision between utopia and reality. In her latest project she takes a decisive step forward and confronts her own work with reality – with the chance of failure, which occurs as soon as an unpredictable element is made an integral part of the work. Escapement consists of four fine mechanisms driven by a surprising energy source – a growing bamboo plant. Such an “engine” seems rather contradictory. Plants are usually seen as immobile, their growth is imperceptible to the naked eye which can perceive only the consequences of this continuous process. Escapement draws from this duality and employs a series of mechanisms propelled by the growing plant, each triggering a specific event. The viewer anticipates what will happen because the event reveals itself in the structure of the corresponding mechanism; the actual realization is, however, unpredictable. The project becomes a poetic experiment using a »plant drive«, which decelerates the kinetic nature of the work to the point where suspense takes over as the most prominent expressive element. The coexistence of plant and machine brigs forth a hybrid object – seemingly precise and mechanical, but driven by a plant – a living being that persistently eludes all attempts of complete control. (Žiga Dobnikar)

In collaboration with: Erik Vidmar: Arborist and Certified European Tree Worker, France Petač: Engineer,  Jaša: Artist

P74 Gallery, Ljubljana
Project nominated for OHO Award.