The Amplifier Machine is a comment and also a conceptual/technical hybrid, which combines Western knowledge (transistor), and the indigenous point of view from Mapuche people (Chile). For that, it uses ultrasonic sensors that detect signals from the environment, translate them into computational data, which then control servo motors connected to the ends of the threads, causing a random-controlled behavior of the loom.
The installation tries to reflect the tensions that exist in the collision of the colonizing forces and the aboriginal resistance that is represented through the materiality and the use of both analog and digital techniques. The piece is thought from a completely binary logic, in terms of its symbolic representation and its very construction; wood/plastic, wool/servo motors, weaving/programming.
The project is based on a medial study on the way in which the transistor object “amplifies” the electrical signals that pass through it, which are possible to be amplified thanks to a “tissue” of electrons and protons that move inside within, in order to amplify weak signals. On the other hand, in the Mapuche loom one can find similar functions; The Mapuche loom also intensifies the culture of indigenous group it belongs to. Either because of its laborious technique (memory) or because of the symbolism it contains, when putting the Mapuche loom and the transistor together, it is possible to find parallels that accentuate the notions of colonialism or decolonialism and their problematization through technology.
“The Amplifier Machine brings into dialogue the defining world-building technologies of Western modernity and the Indigenous cultures of her home country Chile—the transistor and weaving. Her work embodies the tension that materializes when both worlds meet and when Indigenous traditions manage to resist the relentless mechanized pulls of colonial forces.”
– Hochschulpreis Jury on The Amplifier Machine installation
Mege Rosso, Pedro. Arte textil mapuche (1990). Available in Memoria Chilena, Biblioteca Nacional de Chile http://www.memoriachilena.gob.cl/602/w3-article-9634.html . Access in 11/30/2019.