Station A is a pay station innocuously placed on the sidewalk where it blends into the urban landscape. It features a familiar interface and recognizable pictograms – WiFi, a car, a ticket – drawing passersby in with the tantalizing promise of something for free. But any attempt to operate the machine is fraught. The instructions seem increasingly absurd, even contradictory, until we realize the futility of the twisted trial the artist has set out for us.
This interactive electroacoustic sculpture pokes fun at our ambiguous relationship with the automated equipment increasingly omnipresent in our lives. Farley’s pay station exercises a disturbing authority over its users, requiring blind obedience as we follow a series of arbitrary instructions. Have we ourselves, with behaviours preprogrammed to a troubling degree, come to resemble the machines we build to “serve” us?
Yann Farley holds an interdisciplinary MFA from Quebec City’s Université Laval and lives and works in Sainte-Justine. His robotic sculptures have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at the Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides in Saint-Jérôme, the Centre national d’exposition in Jonquière, Atelier Silex in Trois-Rivières, and Materia and Sporobole artist-run-centres in Quebec City and Sherbrooke. In 2012, he took part in the sixth Manif d’art, the Quebec City biennial, whose theme was Machines. Yann Farley has created many permanent public artworks as part of the Quebec government’s Art and Architecture Integration Policy.