Artist in Residence – Jessica Coldrey

July 30, 2021
Jessica Coldrey – Artist in Residence

In late June we launched our Artist in Residence program with Jessica Coldrey. Jess spent 4 weeks in the tech school residing in a room utilizing the technology to assist her to create her artwork.

Jess used the UR5 Robotic arm to program it to apply makeup and then used her photography to create the art in our Green screen with the Black magic camera and lights.

After 3 weeks of residing in the tech school and using the technology to create her art work, Jess set up an exhibition of her works for students, teachers and the community to see. We opened the tech school one night for a few hours and opened the doors to the community to allow them to view her work. Over a couple of hours we had a good turn out attend the tech school, the event went really well and everyone enjoyed themselves.

We also conducted tours of the tech school for those who attended the event and who were interested in seeing what else was in the school. This was another great event that helped us with community awareness of the tech school.

The exhibition was due to remain open for 2 weeks however due to COVID we were put into lockdown the next day and were unable to open the doors for more people to view the exhibition.

Written by Jessica Coldrey

Ever since seeing the UR5e robotic arm at the National Manufacturing Expo in 2019, I’ve held onto the Universal Robots pamphlet dreaming of one day using it for an art project. The first time I visited YRTS, I was blown away to see one available for students to program and learn with. YRTS has an incredible array of leading-edge technologies, and I felt privileged to be able to experiment with them for a creative project through my Art-Tech residency.

Technology has been a longstanding interest in my artwork, and the chance to set up an art studio in YRTS was both immersive and creatively invigorating. Putting together my RetroFuturism project, I contrasted contemporary technologies with stylistic references to 1960’s space-age futurism through videos and photography. The pieces feature robots, drones, and self-portraits which serve as snapshot experiments into connection; a woman taking her drone for a walk, a robotic arm applying her lipstick for her as she stares into the distance contemplating her day, or gifting her a bouquet of flowers bringing an electric smile to her face. These unexpected interactions may prompt viewers to reflect on the strangeness of our fears and elations about technology in the present, revealing the absurdities of connection in the ever-loaded predictions of our future relationships with them.

It’s been a thrilling experience, which I’m sure other artists will come to enjoy and benefit from in the future. I’m excited to see what programs YRTS will run for young people in the future. There are so many fantastic initiatives that I’m confident will inspire many young minds as the next generation of creative STEM leaders.