• NEIL SPILLER
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    Velazquez Machine

    The Velazquez Machine is situated in the Orangerie in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris. These elliptically shaped galleries contain Monet's Water Lilies. The galleries were specially designed for Monet's huge paintings that compositionally straddle representation and abstraction, a critical perturbation in the history of art. My preoccupation is to compositionally straddle representation and abstraction, a critical perturbation in the history of art. My preoccupation is to compositionally straddle the virtual and the actual, art and matter. Velazquez was the first artist to depict himself working as one of the subjects of his great painting La Meninas (1656-7). Since this point artists have become more and more narcissistic, creating more paintings with themselves as subjects, more websites, more exhibitions about themselves. Contemporary examples include Tracey Emin, and there was even an artist who recently crucified himself. As more and more artists are subsumed with self-importance the Velazquez Machine vibrates in tune to this narcissism and over time its vibrations become more and more pronounced. The machine holds a frying pan with a perforated bottom: two fish lie on the pan. Inside the clasped center of the machine along with the fish and the frying pan are nine "Roo-Objects". These are jumping hydrochloric-acid innoculators, similar to mechanical fleas. Underneath the machine is the "Oncological Couch" on which lies a highly sensitive "tongue". As the fish decompose pieces fall onto the tongue. These small impacts are then recorded, transmitted and become the planting plan for a vista many miles away.