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Carolin Liebl and Nikolas Schmid-Pfähler Plastic Extrusion Bot 2020 EMAP EMARE

Plastic Extrusion Bot

Plastic Extrusion Bot (2020) is an installation that critically examines the possible and speculative present and future of dealing with plastics. A plastic extruder built into a robot transforms plastic granules into anamorphic objects, which have a plump, glossy surface right from their birth. As the material swells from the robots' organs, it curls and warps until it cools and hardens in its final shape. The robot spreads these artificial pieces around the exhibition space like virtual brushstrokes.

He carries around a certain amount of granulate in a storage bubble, which needs to be refilled from time to time. These plastic granules are made from collected 3D-print-waste (PLA), which is crushed earlier by a DIY shredder. All objects created during an exhibition will also be shredded and serve as raw material for the next time, creating an (almost) closed loop.

Extruded object tube
Carolin Liebl and Nikolas Schmid-Pfähler Plastic Extrusion Bot 2020 EMAP EMARE

To see how molten plastic is brought into a new form expands the perception of this material, which is otherwise only present in product form. Both Liebl and Schmid-Pfähler believe that an intuitive and aesthetic experience of the material can build a bridge to greater awareness and interest in the current polluting use of plastics. Getting a feel for plastics means regaining more control over an extremely complex and worsening global situation in the use of plastics.

Plastic Extrusion Bot (2020) was created with the support of the European Media Art Residency Exchange during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. This artist residency was carried out remotely and due to health, safety and travel restrictions, FACT was unfortunately not able to present the physical work. Carolin Liebl and Nikolas Schmid-Pfähler produced a film that documents the artwork, watch below to find out more.