Aiko Groot, Three, 2022
Stainless steel tubes, integrated solar panels, 4800 x 200m
As avatars and artificial intelligence become increasingly ubiquitous in our homes and public spaces, ‘the uncanny valley’ has entered the cultural lexicon. Naming the unease we feel upon encountering these technologies when they appear just a bit too-human and a bit too close to home.
Aiko Groot’s Three prompts a similar unease through technology’s mimicry of nature. A trio of trunks, tall like nikau palms but fabricated from stainless steel, are inlaid with solar panels, and programmed to respond at-random to the available sunlight in a prosthetic imitation of photosynthesis.
Like the encounter with our own technologically manipulated image, there is something distinctly unnerving about Groot’s sculptures and their slow, unpredictable movements–but perhaps even more so for the fact that we are excluded from the exchange. Though they are beguiling, this meeting of technology and ecology leaves us somewhere between organism and algorithm, which is to say, left out and unable to make sense of either.