Foto © James Bridle

James Bridle
*1980 in London (GB), lives and works in Athens (GR)

»Autonomous Trap 001«
2017, performance documentation, ditone archival pigment print, 150
× 200 cm


The photo shows a vehicle sitting in the middle of a parking lot surrounded by a salt circle, with Mount Parnassus in the background. The artist drew the circle as a trap for a self-driving car: the solid and dotted line form a »no entry« sign in 360 degrees. The vehicle, which relies on machine vision and processing to guide it, has been put under a spell by the materials of a magic ritual: it cannot leave the circle without breaking its own programming.

Self-driving cars are gradually becoming available to the public. Many vehicles have self-driving capabilities already; trucks on US highways and cabs in crowded cities such as Singapore will also have them soon. Bridle developed his own self-driving car, and in the process also created the satirical artwork »Autonomous Trap 001«. All the code developed for the DIY self-driving car is open source and available online.

Autonomous vehicles bring many developing technologies, such as machine vision and artificial intelligence, into contact with crucial social issues like the atomization and changing nature of labor. The salt trap is a sign of resistance, but also an attempt to define a shared space where both human and machine can converse.

Courtesy of NOME, Berlin