Autonomous Morris by Zak Ové
Outside the Design Museum
Kensington High St, W8 6AG
Standing at approximately 3-metres high, Autonomous Morris is a monumental sculptural head made from deconstructed and collaged vintage car parts, welded together to produce a futuristic yet retro, cross-cultural totemic mask.
Autonomous Morris is based on a Trinidadian phrase, ‘Macco’ – a person who involves themselves in other people’s business for the purpose of gossip and posterity. Ové enjoyed the idea that the now out-of-production car had a ‘voice’ and wanted to engage in dialogue with its viewers and speak of its own journey. The sculpture is a kind of motorised ‘Macco’ and references Ové’s interest in the sculptural aspects of cars, using them to represent geographical movement, historical documentation and nostalgia.
The sculpture is made entirely from discarded car parts including several vintage Morris Minor bonnets, and also references the assumed British tradition of Morris Dancing, which may have come to the UK courtesy of the Moors. The head is a harbinger of the new but carries the history and lore of the past - and has something to say about it. Its organic lines and animated filmic representations add to the cultural potency of its materiality.
“I’m fascinated by ideas around time travel, the spread of diaspora and the positive effects of colliding cultures. My sculpture highlights my belief in the power or play embodied in masquerade, to liberate a sense of self and provide an alternate or evolving creative space both personal and communal. Autonomous Morris soaks up contemporary oral history and information, recording and storing as a ‘never forgetterer’. He listens to your story, your pride, joy and anguish, acting as a receiver and archiver of memory, but remember, he is a Macco, he may gossip about it to others...”
– Zak Ové
AUTONOMOUS MORRIS is presented as part of the KCAW21 Public Art Trail – a series of temporary installations placed in locations across Kensington and Chelsea to interact with the public in unique and unusual ways for Summer 2021