A Strange Empathy | Robert Bell

As part of our lockdown programme we are presenting A Strange Empathy, a series of works by London-based artist Robert Bell. This includes a moving image work, an interactive piece, and a series of prints that are available for purchase.

Each print is available in an edition of 10 (with 3 artist’s proofs) at £200 each. To purchase a print, please email info@block336.com stating which print you would like and the address you would like it shipped to. P&P costs will apply.

In A Strange Empathy 1-8, a series of C-type prints, Bell explores what it means to empathise with a digital creation. The series considers the paradox of the reciprocal exchange of emotion with rendered objects that are part-creature, part-artefact; excavated from a world of pixels. The forms that are presented are inanimate but we feel a life in them nonetheless. Born from within digital maps, without a chain of external source material, these seductive yet enigmatic ‘things’ float in a hallucinatory space.

The moving image work Happy Liquid, the audio of which was made in collaboration with Joe Goddard, brings movement to this form. It morphs and evolves in a way that simultaneously evokes light-chasing nights and moments of intimacy. Erotic in its liquidity, fleshy behind the screen. The beat is a marker for the form’s self-consumption.

Glossy Trouble takes our interaction with the work further. The barriers of empathy are crossed, and we are invited to physically probe the form, the slightest trace of a finger on a trackpad marking its exploration. Artefacts are uncovered; there are spaces between. Here, the line is marked between our empathy and our assimilation.