A Scotiabank Nuit Blanche commissioned project by alumnus Peter Flemming
Can machines fight for what they want? Are water and electricity really such a bad mix? Fight or fight is a kinetic artwork that responds to these questions. The mechanical performers of Fight or fight are imbued with a desire to compete. Above all, they desire the prize.
In an automated tug of war played out in the arena of the artificial pond outside of Roy Thomson Hall, animated fishing rods battle over their quarry. The ‘fish' is a driver-less full size canoe, pulled helplessly to and fro by its pursuers. The hunters are patient, moving slowly, almost leisurely, biding their time... for the right moment... until their prey, exhausted, submits.
The rules of this game are indeterminate, yet these mechanized competitors stubbornly insist on playing simply because they know no other way. It is not altogether clear who wins, how or when, or whether there can even be a victor.
Peter Flemming is a folk machinery artist who creates electronics handcrafted ‘by ear.’ Recent works are situational kinetic sound installations about resonance, with electromagnetically activated materials, mechanical performers and makeshift amplification devices. Past work has included solar powered lazy machines and hypnotically repetitive automata. He has exhibited extensively internationally and been the recipient of numerous grants, awards and residencies. Currently he lives and works in Montréal.
Fight or fight, 2013