Liz Wilson + CNC Robotics

Within the Wake, 2022

First in residence with manufacturer Spiroflow in 2019 where she created The Optical Mechanical, Wilson went on to undertake her second Art in Manufacturing residency with industry-leading technologists, CNC Robotics. Regular trips to the factory from the artist’s base in Kent allowed her to work within the factory’s making schedule, utilising the robotics to carve, extrude and mould sculptures. Forms of fossils, horses legs and the rudder of a canal boat became artefacts to experience alongside video work and new audio combining factory sounds and the artist’s voice.

CNC machine creating an artwork

Within the Wake was an ensemble of sound, sculpture and video exploring time, technology and motion. Drawing on the proximity of CNC Robotics in relation to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, the installation immersed you in a voyage of re-animated industrial artefacts, transitional objects and ethereal sounds. Shifting the viewer from the present and bringing them closer to the journey itself, the work propelled through the passing landscape of technology.

Recalibrated machines synchronised with mechanised voices and robotic sounds, reverberating conversations between the past and present.

“I am fascinated by the rhythm and gravitas that machines generate, with the human as the mediator or facilitator of production. Many of these machines that once held a rhythm have become petrified statues, inert and lifeless. It is through these unresponsive relationships that I have become fascinated by the transportation of the industrial object from the actual to the virtual and the resulting recalibrations of the real.”

Liz Wilson

“Having an Artist in residence will leave a lasting legacy through the work that has been created but also the ideas and questions this experience has evoked.”

Philippa Glover - Managing Director, CNC Robotics


Working across the boundaries of print, moving image, sound and sculpture, Liz Wilson’s practice explores the stretch of time between the industrial and post-industrial; In particular the beginning of automation and how this is altering our relationships with technology. Using site visits as a catalyst to research, write and produce works, she is fascinated by the human-machine relationship of both ‘conductor’ and ‘orchestra’ and how these performative roles manifest themselves during the process of manufacturing. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, her work has been exhibited at Taoxichuan Museum of Art, China; OGA, Rome; Parc de la Villette, Paris.


Owned by a husband and wife team – Jason and Madina Barker, Liverpool based manufacturer, CNC Robotics, offers the security of a global company and the innovation of an independent one. Designing solutions for efficient, precision manufacturing production lines incorporating CNC turning, milling and 3D printing, the manufacturer demonstrates an exciting array of automated technologies that are at play behind the doors of our factories. Quality products, services and unrivalled support infrastructure are at the core of the company’s values.

“Having a BA Hons degree in sculpture myself, I found it both comforting and intimidating at the same time. I relished the creative process and the work Liz produced from her time and experiences with us has inspired me to be more creative too. So much so I have taken up painting again recently, and have a few sculptural ideas floating around in my grey matter. However I need to be brutally honest with myself, if we were to exhibit together in the future, I would certainly be in her shadow.”

Jason Barker - CNC Robotics Owner


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