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External Cybernetics

Geoffrey Drake-Brockman, is an artist like no other. Geoffrey has a background in Computer Science and has exhibited in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, Denmark, New York, and London. He creates installations utilizing technology and software but what sets him apart is that in order for his installations to work they require human interaction. This required human component classifies his art as cybernetic art. All of his pieces utilize sensors that detect people as they come closer to the artwork, software, and other mechanics to create installations that either move, light up, open, close, etc. The purpose of his work is to explore the relationship we have with technology and to form a creative and playful connection to his art and human interaction.  Much of his inspiration comes from “robotic” tales of “man-made beings” such as Frankenstein, Pinnochio, etc. [1] He utilizes technology to parallel these stories and by turning them into reality. Geoffrey states, “When I complete an artwork, I like to watch it respond to the audience. I watch to see how the play between the artwork and the audience.” According to British cybernetic artist and theorist Roy Ascott, this is an example of behavioral triggers. Ascott defines behavioral triggers as, “Where the artist is interested less in his own behavior than in the behavior of the spectator.” This behavior seems to be much of the driving force and sole purpose of his work. This the reason why all of his works calls for such interaction. He also includes mirrors in many of his works to highlight behavioral triggers and relationship between the art and the observer and vice versa. Much like the work of Parisian art research group, Groupe de recherche d’art visual or GRAV for short in the early 1960s whom Geoffrey seems to be heavily influenced by share the same sentiment towards their work. [2]

Geoffrey describes this concept as, “The procession of simulacra our creations reveal in us aspects of an ‘inverse Pinocchio’ – the real boy who wishes he was wooden.” [3] These self-reflecting concepts and triggers create what’s known as behavioral synthesis. Ascott states, behavior synthesis is formed when the boundaries of different forms of art are blurred. I find that there is a symbolic passing of the torch from the visionary interactive works of the Groupe de recherche d’art visuel to Geoffrey Drake-Brockman. Like GRAV, this blurring is something Geoffrey is also a professional at. He uses is work to push those boundaries further and further. He utilizes interactivity to create a world in which the artist is the spectator and the spectator is the artist encouraging creativity in the purest form.


Busbea, Larry. “Kineticism-Spectacle-Environment.” October 144 (June/July 2013): 92-114. doi:10.1162/octo_a_00142.