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robot arm and its unfinished marble sculpture play the lead in quayola’s film for max cooper

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‘fighters’ inspired by Michelangelo’s never-completed artworks


Two boxers fighting in a makeshift ring, surrounded by cameras and sensors, as they tackle each other down. The moves they make and the expressions they convey are caught, then fed into a robot arm using computing programming. The robot arm understands its assignment and begins to chisel the marble sculpture with the same form as the fighters, but near the end, it stops. It drops its arm and leaves the marble sculpture unfinished, reminiscent of Michelangelo’s Captives (1510-1530) and his series of never-completed artworks.


These scenes make up the new short film by the Italian multimedia visual artist Quayola featuring his latest marble sculpture, Fighters (2024). He created it for the London-based electronic and techno music producer Max Cooper and his latest musical project, Seme (or Seed), which hopes to explore and bring up Italian aesthetics, music, and emergence. In the short film, Quayola, backdropped by Max Cooper’s track Palestrina Sicut for which the film was made in the first place, hires the robot arm and a block of marble sourced from Carrara quarry as the stars of the short movie, the duo’s attempt to underline the use of computer programming and classical Italian art.

robot arm marble sculpture quayola film max cooper
images courtesy of Quayola



Robot arm’s marble sculpture in quayola’s film for max cooper


When the robot arm calls off sculpting its marble sculpture, Quayola’s intention comes into view. Fighters is a film about the beginning and the use of algorithms and computer programming to carve his latest artwork. It’s a way for the artist to place the robot arm in a visual performance and show people how it can work, replacing ‘the delicate touch of a human craftsman.’ Unlike its human counterpart, the robot arm works in a pattern, a routine without a break, repeating its styles tenfold, designed by a program and developed by an artist. 


Max Cooper tiptoes into the film through his music. As the robot arm shapes out its marble sculpture, the producer’s track blankets the ambiance with orchestral hymns and progressive synths, slowly building up as the machine demonstrates its craftsmanship for the reveal of the unfinished artwork. The resulting movie joins his musical project Seme (or Seed) which premiered at Salzburg Easter Festival within the Felsenreitschule concert hall on March 28th, 2024. The music produced was commissioned by the Salzburg Easter Festival for the project, and the performance was then followed by two nights at London’s International Arts and Events Centre Barbican.

robot arm marble sculpture quayola film max cooper
robot arm chiseling its marble sculpture in Quayola’s film for Max Cooper

robot arm marble sculpture quayola film max cooper
the name of the short film is called ‘Fighters’

robot arm marble sculpture quayola film max cooper
the robot arm is sculpting the form of two fighters

robot arm marble sculpture quayola film max cooper
the two fighters

robot arm marble sculpture quayola film max cooper
computer programming and algorithms are used and fed into the robot arm


Max Cooper’s Palestrina Sicut is the soundtrack of the film

robot arm marble sculpture quayola film max cooper
in Quayola’s film, the robot arm didn’t finish its marble sculpture

robot arm marble sculpture quayola film max cooper
the unfinished artwork draws inspiration from Michelangelo’s Captives and his never-completed sculptures

robot arm marble sculpture quayola film max cooper
view of the computer programming for the robot arm and its marble sculpture design


the film forms part of Max Cooper’s musical project, Seme


project info:


name: Fighters

artist: Quayola

music producer: Max Cooper

musical project: Seme

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