DAVID McDOUGALL, Professor of Sculpture, WINS JUROR'S CHOICE AT THAMES ART GALLERY, CHATHAM
Congratulations to David McDougall whose kinetic sculpture Machined Migration, won Juror's Choice at the Thames Art Gallery. McDougall's piece explores Canadian identity, ecology, trade and automation.
About Machine Migration:
Migratory birds are a perfect cross-cultural symbol of collapsing environmental inter-connectivity. Machined Migration is a mill that performs a perverse instantiation of winged migration; its function is to roll a taxidermied Canadian goose carcass the distance the bird would travel in the wild. This deficit between the awkward roll of the bird’s body and real flight highlights how ridiculous purely instrumental thinking can be.
I briefly worked as a taxidermist and saw first-hand the desire of people to process nature into an idealized symbol that reflects back their own ego. This perceived totemic power is not dissimilar to technologies promise to project dominance over an imagined dominion.
The machine, with its vintage industrial design alludes to this nostalgia for a time of unmediated technological agencies. Our collective imagination seems to linger on this outmoded representation however incompatible it now is with the challenges we face. The work, is of course, an object of absurdly, but reveals a paradox. Can the same technology that threatens our way of life be used to remake the world anew or will the world remade be just a simulacra; a ghost world of the one we left behind.