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Video: Barry Freedland’s robots create his art for him

  • One of Barry Freedland's drawing robots

If an artist employs studio assistants (Michelangelo) or relies on an assembly line (Andy Warhol), can he still legitimately claim authorship of his work? Williamsburg artist Barry Freedland, who carries the disengagement of the creator from his creation a step further by building machines to create art for him, further muddies the metaphysical question of authorship by incorporating some aspect of his physical presence into those machines. One of his robots, for example, is programmed to stamp his thumbprint repeatedly around a sheet of paper. While Freedland thus does not actually create the resulting “drawing,” his singular genetic code is an inextricable part of it. Similarly, in the case of “Multitasking,” Freedland’s current exhibit at A.P.E. Gallery in Northampton, six “drawing” robots are simultaneously set to work composing multiple, painstakingly detailed drawings that the artist could not otherwise create on his own. At the same time that the machine allows him to transcend his physical limitations, however, his bodily presence remains embedded in it in the form of the stylus — a prosthetic hand cast from his own.

Hours at A.P.E. at 126 Main St. in Northampton are Fri.,12-8, and Tues.-Sun., 12-5. The exhibit continues through June 12. 586-5553

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