1963 – Electric Actors – Bruce Lacey (British)
See video clip showing both of the "Electric Actors" in motion, amongst other assemblages.
SPARE PART ART
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"Electric Man Mark I" as he was in June 2009 when I visited Bruce along with David Buckley who joined me on my 'old robot' pilgrimage. The units on the left are to power and control the Electric Actors.
These notes are from when I visited Bruce in May, 2009.
Bruce Lavey talks about life as therapy. A lot of his creative work is a reaction to a dislike, a wrong-doing, what Bruce refers to as his "hates, fears, loves, wishes and dreams." Rather than dwell on the issue, you contront it by making a statement , in this case using an artifact created by Bruce.
Bruce reflects on his approach to acting vs mainstreem acting. In his prop making days (50's – 60's), he was surprised to find that when working with the Goons, despite their "on-air" lunacy, they were very straight, ordinary people living ordinary lives in ordinary houses with ordinary furniture.
From another artist statement, Brace states "My lodger, who was working in television, asked if I would make special trick props for Spike Milligan in a series called The Idiot Weekly, Price 2d. I appeared in and also supplied sets, costumes, props and special effects for The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film, with Spike and Peter Sellers. After not receiving any credit or payment for this work, I began hating the whole of professional show business. To express this hatred, in 1961 I built two robot electric actors and performed with them at the Establishment nightclub, run by Peter Cook, showing their superiority over live actors."
This is building up his hate for conventional actors. As a reaction to this hate (later reflected on as Therapy), he builds his "Electric Actors". There is a scene in a movie [yet to be identified] where Bruce, acting as an actor, has a heart attack, and accidentally switches on his electric actors during his death throws, and they carry on with the act. He builds two "Electric Actors".
Built using an old Victorian bellows vacuum cleaner with arms, and a clock case head. He was designed to spin around and fall apart. The other Electric Actor was
Electric Man Mark I.
He sings and has bubbles blowing out of his chest, and his eyes move in his head.