Carolin Liebl & Nikolas Schmid-Pfähler


Carolin Liebl (DE)
Nikolas Schmid-Pfähler (DE)
Incorporating elements of sculpture, the kinetic, robots, and installation, the duo’s work deals with the effects of technological development on the aesthetic and social aspects of human and nonhuman life. Their medium—technology—is both a carrier of social convention and a pictorial material. Their objects expressing different energies examine the nature of electrical energy and the self-perception of humankind in relation to it. Carolin Liebl and Nikolas Schmid-Pfähler have been working as an artist duo since 2012. Both graduated from the Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach in 2017. Liebl and Schmid-Pfähler, together with nine other artists, opened a joint studio in 2019. It is available for artists of various genres, serving as a platform for the exchange of practices.
Robotic Installation (without title) (2020)
  • Robotic Device
    © Carolin Liebl & Nikolas Schmid-Pfähler

Our installation critically examines the possible and speculative present and future of dealing with plastics. A plastic extruder built into a robot transforms plastic granules into anamorphic objects, which have a plump, glossy surface right from their birth. As the material swells from the robots' organs, it curls and warps until it cools and hardens in its final shape. The robot spreads these artificial pieces around the exhibition space like virtual brushstrokes.
He carries around a certain amount of granulate in a storage bubble, which needs to be refilled from time to time. These plastic granules are made from collected 3D-print-waste (PLA), which is crushed earlier by a diy-shredder. All objects created during an exhibition will also be shredded and serve as raw material for the next time. So the installation will run in an (almost) closed loop. After consultation with a materials scientist, we expect that the same material can be re-digested by the robot up to eight times before a drop in viscosity sets in. This loss of properties can be very interesting from an aesthetic perspective.
To see how molten plastic is brought into a new form expands the perception of this material, which is otherwise only present in product form. We believe that an intuitive and aesthetic experience of the material can build a bridge to a greater awareness and interest in the current polluting use of plastics. Getting a feel for plastics means regaining more control over an extremely complex and worsening global situation in the use of plastics.

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FACT (2020)