Alone Together, 2017-

To create this series of mechanically assisted paintings. Wagenknecht modified a Roomba to paint on canvas as it enacts custom algorithms. As the Roomba maneuvers around the canvas, Wagenknecht reclines nude. The Roomba relentlessly attempts to navigate around her body because it is designed to continue on a trajectory until the entire area has been mapped by its algorithm. The result is a void in the shape of a female form surrounded by the blue strokes of the robot. The paintings reference Yves Klein’s Anthropométries in which he directs nude female models, who he referred to as “living paintbrushes,” to press their pigment-covered bodies against canvases in front of an audience. In contrast, Wagenknecht abandons the spectacle of the objectified female nude in favor of drawing attention to what is absent. There is no performance or process documentation on display and the female form is only acknowledged in the negative space of the paintings.


Artist Statement:

The roomba navigates around the artist body because it is designed to do so, to an extent, it is relentless until stopped. Her body prevents the roomba from accessing areas of the canvas while simultaneously transferring the labor of the production from the female to the AI.  This gifts the artist with the privilege of rest rather than physical labor. The conundrum is that AI, machine or device, is a promise to optimize- the ability to perform basic tasks. Contrarily this doesn't encourage stillness on the woman's part, the AI simply creates more labor in exchange for its cohabitation of the domestic space.

The artist body actively claims the canvas, the artifact of her presence is thus void of color.  Female bodies typically perform as an element of exhibitionism, so much so that seems to define the contemporary experience of being female. Sex and bodies of women, others and lgbtqa are historically welcomed as entertainment- whatever the circumstances (#metoo). As a response, the work serves to evoke the duality of being invisible while simultaneously claiming presence. 

With the artist body being physically absent in the exhibition i.e. the un-selfie, she affirms these expressions of invisibility through representation or lack of, and to enter them into creative circulation for the confirmation of the art world/community as a space, a void in which there is no medium/paint/expression but rather the canvas as an artifact of her existence.  What shape does the expressions of female agency take if the female body is not available for domestic labor or sex?