Itziar Barrio, Robota MML

Itziar Barrio, Robota MML

Itziar Barrio, Robota MML
Screening and conversation

Admission starts at $5

April 4, 2023, 7pm
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Join us at e-flux Screening Room on Tuesday, April 4 at 7pm for a screening of Itziar Barrio’s Robota MML (2023, 62 minutes). The screening constitutes the full-length premiere of Robota MML, the second film in Barrio’s Material trilogy on view in its expanded iteration at Barrio’s solo exhibition did not feel low, was sleeping at Smack Mellon (March 11-April 23), employing speculative narratives and non-linear timelines to investigate the intersections between technology, labor, identity, and matter. The screening will be followed by an in-person conversation between Itziar Barrio and social scientist and design researcher Laura Forlano, who collaborated with the artist on a series of sculptures that accompany the film in the installation at Smack Mellon. 

Robota MML looks at the many valences of work and traces the etymological origins of “robot.” Coined by Czech writer Karel Capek in his science-fiction play R.U.R. (1920), which is set in a factory where robots are built to free humans from work, the term derives from the word robota, meaning forced labor. Barrio relocates R.U.R.’s characters to a contemporary setting sensitive to biopower, class consciousness, identity, and gender fluidity. In Barrio’s interpretation, the agent capable of affecting the human psyche appears in physical form as smoke. Barrio complicates the narrative through a nonlinear narrative structure as well as aesthetic references to Géricault’s painting Raft of the Medusa (1818–1819) and queer night clubs. Continuous with the rest of Barrio’s Material trilogy, this film involves collaborations with different experts including a robotics engineer and a professional bodybuilder.

For more information, contact

–Two flights of stairs lead up to the building’s front entrance at 172 Classon Avenue.    
–For elevator access, please RSVP to The building has a freight elevator which leads into the e-flux office space. Entrance to the elevator is nearest to 180 Classon Ave (a garage door). We have a ramp for the steps within the space.             
–e-flux has an ADA-compliant bathroom. There are no steps between the Screening Room and this bathroom.



Film, Labor & Work, Gender
Video Art, Robotics, Biopolitics, Class

Itziar Barrio is a multimedia artist based in NYC. She is internationally recognized for her contributions to the intersections of art, film, and technology. Her work has been exhibited at art institutions across the United States, Latin America, and Europe including: PARTICIPANT INC (NYC), MACRO (Rome), MACBA (Barcelona), Contemporary Art Museum (Belgrade), Museo del Banco de la República (Bogotá), Salzburger Kunstverein, and the Havana Biennial. She teaches at the School of Visual Arts (NYC) and Sarah Lawrence College (NY), and has lectured internationally. Her exhibition By All Means (2018) was curated by Johanna Burton, and her forthcoming monograph will be published by SKIRA in 2023. She has been awarded the Spanish Academy in Rome Fellowship and is currently a fellow at the New Museum’s NEW INC incubator.

Laura Forlano, a Fulbright award-winning and National Science Foundation-funded scholar, is a disabled writer, social scientist, and design researcher. She is Professor in the departments of Art + Design and Communication Studies in the College of Arts, Media, and Design and Distinguished Senior Fellow at The Burnes Center for Social Change at Northeastern University. Forlano is also an Affiliated Fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Forlano’s research is focused on aesthetics and politics at the intersection between design and emerging technologies. She has used participatory workshops, collaborative games, exhibitions, speculative videos, prototypes, and performances to imagine alternative futures for living with data and computation. She is the author of Cyborg (with Danya Glabau, forthcoming MIT Press) and an editor of three books: Bauhaus Futures (MIT Press 2019), digitalSTS (Princeton University Press 2019) and From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen (MIT Press 2011).

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