Agency consists of two recent works by Robert Hengeveld: Kentucky Perfect and Ghostrider.
Both projects incorporate an intentionally overstated measure of technology to explore the very role that technology plays in the culture in which we live. More specifically, the work – in its fantastical amplification of the technology’s use in the everyday - examines how this technology (communications, chemical, genetic) is used to control the environments we inhabit; as a means of making things more convenient, more comfortable, more aesthetic.
It reflects the reality of our culture’s interest in controlling and shaping the natural environments around us. The absurdity through which this is obtained contrasts the reality of our culture, but only in the margin of its additional efforts. The excessiveness of the work reframes the reality outside of it, creating a moment in which the familiar is thrown into question and is seen again.
Rolls of sod are laid end to end along a narrow aluminum structure. A wheeled light assembly continually traverses across the grass, almost as if scanning it. This methodically passing of the light source is occasionally interrupted by the rapid entrance of a reel mower that cuts back any growth of the last twenty minutes. The lights again return to its continued sweeping. Periodically, a watering-boom also enters the fray, misting the grass according to the atmospheric conditions. Collectively they labour to preserve the idyllic lawn. Despite relentless effort the resulting
specimen often falls well short of perfection.
A lone hedge stands perfectly plumb – symmetrically honed. Maintaining its figure is what appears to be a voracious set of trimmers. The sheers, mounted on to a robotic arm, pivots about the hedge. Its cutting is interrupted by a light assemble, which circles about from the opposite side. The surrounding apparatus dwarfs the hedge. Whether the hedge is being coddled or persecuted is never entirely resolved.