It's hard not to smile while watching video of Serbian artist Dragan Ilic's latest project, DI-2K4.
Part reimagining of Chaplin's Modern Times and part terrifying portrait of our dystopian future, Ilic's latest video features the artist getting twirled around by an industrial manufacturing robot while painting abstract marks on a large canvas. According to Ilic's artist statement on DI-2K4, the project is meant to be a statement on the repetitiveness of industrial production as well as humanity's increasing subservience to machines.
"The metamorphosis of the artistic work is positioned at a point where human and machine activity intersects," writes Ilic, reflecting on the state of art today. "[This results] in an interaction that is essentially based on the need to transcend the limitations of the human body."
Ilic is talking about cyborgs and their role in artistic and social processes, of course, and to explore this idea he has placed his entire body at the service of a programmed machine, creating a weird artistic pseudo-cyborg that controls his painting. Moreover, Ilic points out that the machine is capable of failure, an aspect of the performance piece that places his body "at great risk," once again emphasizing the latent danger in placing too much faith in machines.
This is all very profound and probably says a lot about where we're headed as a species, but let's be honest—that machine looks like it'd be fun as hell even without all the symbolism.