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Calling a person a machine has long been an insult to humanity. A machine built to replicate the appearance and social exchange of human beings is contentious still.

To want to emulate, rip off, or physically ‘be like’ something else can appear unsavoury, narcissistic and against nature, as the benevolence of humanity emphasises the importance of individuality and admires the unique. Yet we still brood, desiring to be fitter, healthier and more productive.

In some ways a robot or a machine is the manifestation of these collective aspirations. A pre-programmed, outwardly controlled entity doesn’t feel pain, experience loss or times of hardship. When emotions and pain take hold, the streamlined computer logic of a machine may appear constructive in alleviating the oppressive force of grief. If our emotions were not of consequence, perhaps we would not suffer, and bad experiences would not inform our future lives.

The collective’s inaugural exhibition, Breathe & Reboot, charted the artists’ coping strategies in a world where a fine art graduate may feel alienated from the job market. In response to feeling cast adrift, we invent our own logical route to guide us to where we would like to be. Error 404 is an impediment in this logic; as logic cannot account for the irrationality of emotions that we may face along the way.

A computer system epitomises logic and rationale; however a computer can throw up an Error 404 message when a request cannot be found and it is unknown why. If a computer can lapse and fail to reach a conclusion, then this unsettles us further still. Faith in logic, when logic has failed forces us to confront our fears, deal with our emotions and accept that we are only human.

Error 404