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New Media

Image of Absolutely


180 x 144 x 144 in. (457.2 x 365.76 x 365.76 cm)

Alan Rath (Cincinnati, Ohio, 1959 – 2020, Oakland, CA) Primary

Object Type: Sculpture
Medium and Support: Pheasant feathers, aluminum, fiberglass and custom electronics
Credit Line: GIft of the Lipman Family Foundation
Accession Number: 2013.06.02


Alan Rath: Virtual Reality, February 16 – June 2, 2019, ICA San Jose, San Jose, CA.

Initial Public Offering: New Works from SJMA’s Permanent Collection, March 1, 2014 - August 24, 2014, New Wing, First floor, Gibson Family Gallery and Plaza Gallery, San José Museum of Art.

SJMA Label Text

Initial Public Offering: New Works from SJMA’s Permanent Collection (2014)

Alan Rath employs new technologies as a means to explore the uncertain terrain separating humans from machines. Trained as an electrical engineer, Rath infuses his work with an inquisitiveness about electronics that goes back to his childhood. Through his art, Rath celebrates the symbiotic relationship we have with modern technology.

Absolutely represents a radical shift in Rath’s practice from electronic images on screens to robotic sculptures. Long interested in physical mechanical movement, Rath set out to make robotic works that modified, rather than repeated, their own movements. Custom-designed software and motion detectors ensure that the sculpture moves at-will and “falls asleep” when no one is around. Though the combination of feathers with machinery might suggest a robotic bird, Rath resists the association. He fuses technological apparatuses with organic forms or found materials to make his sculptures “seem more alive,” contending that, “I’ve been working on [my sculptures] for a long time for the movement to be organic and not be mechanical.”

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  • Sculpture Dimensions: 180 x 144 x 144 in. (457.2 x 365.76 x 365.76 cm)

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