Liz Wilson + Spiroflow

The Optical Mechanical, 2019

Exploring the relationship between human and machine to investigate how technology and automation have altered our perceptions of production, duplication and labour, Liz Wilson investigated the human/machine relationship of both ‘conductor’ and ‘orchestra,’ creating repetitive images within a multi-channel video installation.

Using modulated voices and animation to explore the tempo and energy of each apparatus, the work recapitulated and evolved, simulating the synchronised spectacle of automation; the repetition of such, working as a catalyst and drawing parallels to the stretch of time between the industrial and post-industrial – pounding with the pulse of time itself.

‘The Optical Mechanical’ was our first digital commission for Art in Manufacturing, and was presented on Northgate, Blackburn, opposite the building where pioneering film makers Mitchell and Kenyon worked with the earliest moving image a century before.

“When the intention of something is removed, altered or interrupted this is when something fascinating happens during the creative process. As we continue to pursue automation through the evolution of the machine, I am confident that the repurposed and refurbished artefacts from our global scrap yards will continue to be used as tools within the creative process.”

Liz Wilson


Liz Wilson’s multimedia work encompasses visuals, whether static or moving, as well as explorations into sound. A graduate from the Royal College of Art, her practice explores the relationships between industrialisation, technologies and print. Her most recent exhibitions include Taoxichuan Museum of Art, China and Parc de la Villette, Paris.


Spiroflow is a global leader in the field of powder handling and industry leaders in the field of bulk materials handling. A manufacturer of equipment such as mechanical conveyors, bulk bag fillers, bulk bag unloaders and other process equipment and an early inventor of the flexible screw conveyor – Spiroflow has multiple active patents, with innovative teams in Clitheroe and a US base in North Carolina.

“I don’t think it is an unusual meeting at all. Da Vinci always merged mechanics with art in his work such as the design for a helicopter. I think this festival is just highlighting this historical link for the present day. Art finds the beauty in anything, and there is plenty of beauty in manufacturing!”

Eleanor Spensely, Spiroflow


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