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Alice Anderson’s Spiritual Machines

The Anglo-French artist is presenting a set of totems, masks and statuettes at the Galerie Valérie Bach in Brussels

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Text by Rab Messina

In Ray Kurzweil’s The Age of Spiritual Machines, published in 1999, objects with artificial intelligence allow humans to transcend their biological limits. In Alice Anderson’s Kurzweil-inspired Spiritual Machines, on display at the Galerie Valérie Bach/La Patinoire Royale, objects with spiritual intelligence allow humans to go back to their primal origins.

These totems, masks and statuettes are the artist’s way of questioning the crux of our humanity nowadays. The copper-coloured wire she uses, with her self-developed weaving technique, symbolises the interconnectedness of today’s digital world. It also, as Anderson herself describes, allows her to “memorise” objects and architecture: the process is a way of drawing memory circuits in a physical way around objects, which transports her to a meditative state that involves rhythm and repetition. Given today’s fast-paced technological obsolescence cycles, when she feels an object may be phased out of our lifetimes, she memorises it with thread before it disappears altogether from the market.

This same meditative process gave way to Bodily Itineraries, a sculptural installation. The self-described “abstraction in space” is a temple with square elements, formed through bodily movements performed at different speeds —what Anderson calls “an alphabet of movement.” In addition, she’s also presenting a series of Pulse Drawings and Pulse Paintings, made using dematerialised red pastel scraped onto cloth through what looks like a full-body dance choreography.

Spiritual Machines and Bodily Itineraries are on display until March 17


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