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Dog Robot Space Star
A Two Cathies Collaboration - Catherine Bell & Cathy Staughton

Catherine Bell, 'Dog Robot Space Star' (2023) Short film. Courtesy the artist and Sutton Gallery, Melbourne.
Catherine Bell, 'Dog Robot Space Star' (2023) Short film. Courtesy the artist and Sutton Gallery, Melbourne.

21 April -
20 May 2023

Gertrude Glasshouse

44 Glasshouse Road, Collingwood

Opening Event
Thursday 20 April, 5 - 7pm

Catherine Bell and Cathy Staughton, aka The Two Cathies, have worked together on projects since The Portrait Exchange (2009), their first collaborative venture for Arts Project Australia. The creative partnership’s current project involves working exclusively with the infamous Boston Dynamics Robot ‘Spot’ during a six-month residency at RMIT Health Transformation Lab.     

In the collaboration each artist performs as a muse for the other and their individual practices are strengthened. Broader contexts of intersectional feminism and social activism inform this method. Staughton paints portraits of Bell, and Bell produces video portraits to document their collaborative interaction. From this process, The Two Cathies produce separate artworks. For this collaboration, Staughton’s paintings and Bell’s videos are exhibited alongside each other and shown as one body of work. 

The methodology challenges stereotypes about disability and works within a framework of feminist principles to demonstrate how lived experiences influence and align with identity politics in contemporary art. Bell’s silent films acknowledge that Staughton is hearing impaired and, for a brief time in history, the genre provided an inclusive experience for the deaf community to fully participate in the popular cultural form.

Dog Robot Space Star fuses art, film and technology. Bell’s Dadaist-inspired film explores the impact of COVID lockdowns on the creative psyche and the effect of prolonged, enforced, social isolation on marginalised and vulnerable communities. Staughton’s series of two-dimensional artworks investigate the artist’s passion for technology, and empathic relationship with ‘Spot’ the Boston Dynamics Robot. Situated together, the exhibition raises ethical questions about our duty of care to the technology that companions and serves us. Do we owe a debt of gratitude to the technological devices we bond with over extended periods of time? How should we respond when the technology we rely on malfunctions, becomes old and outdated, ceases and desists?


Public Program
Cathy Staughton, 'Cathy and Catherine Bell Dog Robot Remote Games', 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Arts Project Australia.

Dog Robot Space Star & RMIT Health Transformation Lab

Opening EventThursday 20 April, 7amGertrude Glasshouse

Boston Dynamics Robot Dog 'Spot' made a special appearance at the event courtesy of the RMIT Health Transformation Lab.

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Audiences view the Boston Dynamic Robot Dog in attendance at the opening of Catherine Bell and Cathy Staughton, Dog Robot Space Star, presented at Gertrude Glasshouse, 2023. Photo: Madeleine Bishop

Artist Talk: Catherine Bell in conversation with Amelia Winata

Artist TalkSaturday 20 May, 6amGertrude Glasshouse

Join exhibiting artist Catherine Bell in converstion with Gertrude Curator in Residence Amelia Winata on the final day of the exhibition at Gertrude Glasshouse as they discuss Catherine Bell and Cathy Staughton's Dog Robot Space Star.

This public program will be AUSLAN interpreted.

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This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Dog Robot Space Star has been made in partnership with RMIT’s Health Transformation Lab, the host venue for The Two Cathies artist residency.

Catherine Bell is represented by Sutton Gallery and Cathy Staughton is represented by Arts Project Australia.

The Gertrude Glasshouse Program is supported by the City of Yarra 2023 Annual Grants Program.

Gertrude Glasshouse is generously supported by Michael Schwarz and David Clouston.

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Gertrude Contemporary

Wurundjeri Country
21-31 High Street
Preston South VIC
Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday 11am–5pm

Gertrude Glasshouse

Wurundjeri Country
44 Glasshouse Road
Collingwood VIC
Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours:
Thursday–Saturday 12–5pm