Re.riddle presents Soft Automata

by | Sep 1, 2022 | Blog post

re.riddle is pleased to present, Soft Automata an exhibition of work by Andrew Sungtaek Ingersoll and Oliver Hawk Holden on going through September 13, 2022.

At a historical moment in our contemporary visual culture, digital reality is increasingly overshadowing our analog reality. What’s at stake in such an occurrence? How might these experiences in the digital realm, when accumulated, alter or complicate our perception of our physical and material truth? 

Artists Andrew Sungtaek Ingersoll and Oliver Hawk Holden investigate these questions in their multimedia practice and collaborative exhibition, Soft Automata. Informed by autobiographical narratives, the exhibition includes inventive interpretations and playful constructions of the centuries-old technology of automata. Their hybrid digital and mechanical creations recenter physicality, materiality and the body (that which is often unwittingly distanced, disconnected or disembodied within contemporary visual culture) back into our lived experiences through the stratagem of play and playfulness. 

The exhibition’s title Soft Automata is a nod to machine’s potential fragility, pliability and soft physicality, evoking references to the human body. Automata has a long history of being imbued with animate qualities, spiritual relevance and awakening a connection to body and place. Stemming from ancient Greek mythology in which the divine smith Hephaestus crafted living statues of animals, men, and monsters, the articulation of man with machine continues to be applied in contemporary automata theory. 

In Soft Automata, Ingersoll and Holden present an array of kinetic machines that situate the automata as a potential pathway for reclaiming the body; in turn, reconnecting and returning one’s sense of self and awareness of personhood. The duo work in collaboration and independently, bridging technology and sculptural installations that speak to their respective experiences and identities. Ingersoll weaves together technology, sound/music, and his Korean culture; Holden draws inspiration from local mo-ped subculture, the Mission School style and DIY art movements. Their whimsical machines elicit a desire to play and interact, captivating our sensorial presence and mental engagement with the work. They urge us to move beyond passive viewing into active, attentive curiosity, thickening the multidisciplinary nature of movement, sound, and tactility – ultimately, engendering moments of embodied attunement and intersecting forms of intercultural ‘play’. 

Andrew Sung Taek Ingersoll, Rearview Buddha, 2021, Steel, Lawn Grass, Water, Terrarium, UV Light, Camera, Rearview Parking Monitor, Acrylic Statue, Water Pump

For more information on the exhibition and the gallery please visit

 Oliver Hawk Holden, Let’s Paint TV, 2018, Multimedia Installation, Paper Mache, Wood, Metal, Clothing, Treadmill,  6’7”H x 36”W x 55”L, image from First Amendment Gallery 2018;