#iNHUMAN, a new exhibition at Swansea’s elysium gallery, explores what it is to be human in our digital and technological world.
Created by Swansea College of Art graduate Myles Mansfield, #iNHUMAN investigates a possible future where our descendants exist in ‘a virtual computer world without bodies’.
Having previously made sculptures for Dr. Beynon’s Bug Farm in St David’s and The National Botanic Garden of Wales, Mansfield is currently studying Kinetic Sculpture for his PhD. His First World War Soldier sculpture was used in the series of commemorative performances in September 2018 for Swansea’s Now The Hero events. #iNHUMAN, Mansfield’s latest project, features sculptures constructed from recycled materials and motors; as a nod to the automata of the past and the hope that the age of enlightenment entailed, the moving parts are deliberately on show.
Talking of how he creates his artwork, Mansfield explained that he doesn’t create sketches before embarking on a new project; after coming up with an idea, he considers how he’d like to make the sculpture move then begins experimenting through the building process. ‘Everything is by eye: hold it up and weld it in place, see if it works. Every sculpture is a journey of exploration,’ he said. ‘At the end they become so complicated that I’m not even sure how they work. In a show in Worcester last year the wire became detached from somewhere on one of my sculptures, it was guesswork and trial and error to find out where it belonged!’
Speaking ahead of the show, Mansfield said that the sense of community we gain from interacting with the physical environment and the other people that exist outside our front door is being eroded by our withdrawal into the realm of the virtual world.
‘The way that our children relate to us and each other is changing; their sense of belonging to their own community is also being dissolved. This show seeks to explore and highlight the ways that technology is facilitating these changes and to create discussion around the subject.’
Mansfield will be talking about the exhibition at elysium gallery on Wednesday the 13th of April at 19:00. #iNHUMAN will be showing at the gallery Wednesday—Saturday 11:00—18:00 until the 21st of May 2022.