Shake “no” and you will see “YES”, nod “yes” and you will see “NO”. If you are keeping your head still, you will see a black oak cross with flashing red lights. In all his work, artist Rob Zimmerman plays with human expectations and actions. “234” is one of his games and the name of the cross, which he has placed in one of the vaults in the Hermitage. The title refers to the 234 lights on the cross, but also to the rhythm in which they move along the cross. Your eyes have to follow the rhythm, if you want to be able to see the words.
If you are able to see the words or not, 234 is hypnotizing and puts things into perspective. It contradicts and confronts. “For some people it is a religious experience. That is allowed, but for me it is mainly about the connection between humans, technology and nature. And those two, technology and nature, are not the opposites people often think they are,” says Zimmerman. “Technology is an human invention. That alone makes it part of nature. I want to make that natural, social hart of technology visible with my machines.”
The artist Rob Zimmermann has a background in the world of theatre. For years he worked at Dogtroep, he has a master degree in Experience Design from the Design Academy in Eindhoven, and he teaches at the faculty of Industrial Design at the TU/e. Actions are important for his machines. He calls them machines instead of robots because they have nothing human. “It’s about what they do and how they do it. There is always some kind of choreography in their movements. My objects are almost like actors. And they often ask an action from the viewer. 234 does.
Rob Zimmermann is invited by Jacki Dodemontová for MU.