We all have inner demons - of addictions, compulsions, and insecurities, of people, times or places we have left behind, or wish to escape to and of the figures or past selves we subconsciously hold ourselves to. These voices haunt us and demand to be acknowledged, reasoned with and talked down, as if they know something we don’t, yet sometimes these voices are hollow, appearing as an unconscious fight-or-flight response to some external trigger - an if-then statement taken to an extreme. This wearable mechanical artwork, the first in a series of “Demon Bots”, acts as a theatrical surrogate for the wearer’s demons, exploring how one’s consciousness might be distributed and recontextualized beyond the self through conversation with programmed entities.
Before using the bot, wearers must decide on an Icon representing their inner demon and place it in the locket mounted on the work, as an offering of sorts. Like a rubber band on one’s wrist snapped to ward off intrusive thoughts, whenever faced with the demon in their head, wearers must light the candle on the work. The locket will spring open and the work will begin repeatedly slapping the wearer’s wrist with a rubber band. The icon in the locket, animated by the repetitive, mechanical behavior of the rubber slapper, juxtaposes the superficial sentience we are willing to give our inner compulsions with their potentially programmatic nature. As such, the work asks wearers to reflect on how they wish to view their vices and compulsions – as inherent parts of their selves worth marinating in, or simply as errant subroutines of their lizard brains. The decision to put out the candle or let it run down depends on how the wearer responds.
© 2021 all rights reserved Mohar Kalra.