Mat Collishaw

The Machine Zone, 2019

This work is inspired by the historic behavioural experiments of American psychologist B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) which explored the idea of random reward. Skinner’s work has been widely referenced in relation to the algorithms which drive interactions on social media, tapping into a subconscious primal side of the brain which is involved in motivated behaviours, thus exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. Skinner’s ‘operant conditioning chamber’ demonstrated that random reward created a kind of constant uncertainty that then encouraged a behavioural loop.

Skinner’s ghost has persisted into the modern day, a quiet spectre among our statuses, likes, comments, and shares. Collishaw worked with a special effects designer to create these animatronic bird models which exhibit random repetitive actions.



Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick

Mat Collishaw joins a number of artists in an exhibition inspired by the work of visionary director, Stanley Kubrick. Participating artists have been invited to respond to a film, scene, character or theme from the Kubrick archives, shining new perspectives onto the cinematic master’s lifework. Mat responded to Kubrick’s 1968 sci-fi masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Visit Somerset House’s website here for more information.