Every ‘up’-, ‘down’-, ‘lift’- or ‘turn’-movement made by every single forklift truck or crane appears to be choreographed and precisely timed. A repetitive yet impressive spectacle hosted by Montevideo’s container port areas. As I watch this strange dance across the bay of Escollera Sarandi, I start to imagine that every move that they make is completely useless and is actually not contributing to anything at all. Actively moving nothing from nothing to nothing in order to complete nothing. Instead of preparing containers for shipment or lifting goods to their destined location they are just moving around … to move around.

Radio-rotor is a robot model that I built as a response to the industrial activities of the port. 

Radio-rotor .mp4

Territorio Especifico, Montevideo, Uruguay (2021) self-sustained robot controlled by received radio waves

solar driven robot directed by radio frequencies (2021)

The robot is not doing anything, it is self-sustained, has no intention and is merely reacting to its surroundings. It is receiving radio frequencies, the sounds are translated into a rotary mechanic movement. This movement displaces the robot and the attached radio antenna at the same time. The incoming frequency thereby changes and in return redefines the robot’s movement in real time. A feedback loop is created between movement and sound with the alternating factor of the location-dependent radio sounds. 

I placed radio-rotor in various “non-places” found in between the active port areas to just let it move around for the sake of moving. Finally, on the abandoned island in the center of the port (Isla del la Libertad) it peaked in not fulfilling any purpose. Almost unobserved it just performed its repetitive rotary movement in the midst of the island’s ruins.

The sketch “radio-rotor” was part of the theoretical research on “nothingness” that I started with Fernando Godoy during the residency.