Mark Pauline

Mark Pauline

American performance artist and inventor
Date of Birth: 14.12.1953
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Mark Pauline
  2. Early Life and Career
  3. 'Survival Research Labs'
  4. Provocative Art
  5. Personal Life and Attitude

Biography of Mark Pauline

Mark Pauline, an American performance artist and inventor, is best known as the founder and head of the organization 'Survival Research Labs'. Since its inception in 1979 until the end of 2006, Pauline and his team of creative engineers conducted nearly 48 mechanized shows. These presentations focused on the interaction between machines, robots, and special effects devices.

Mark Pauline

Early Life and Career

Mark Pauline was born on December 14, 1953. He graduated from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1977. A year later, Pauline founded the organization 'Survival Research Labs'. He is considered one of the pioneering practitioners in the field of 'industrial performance art', laying the foundation for future organizers of performances involving complex and massive mechanisms.

Mark Pauline

'Survival Research Labs'

Pauline's organization, 'Survival Research Labs', gained notoriety for staging some of the most dangerous shows on Earth. He has had a significant influence on the growing popularity of competitions where participants battle remotely-controlled robots and machines, such as 'BattleBots' and 'Robot Wars'. While Russian viewers could watch 'Robot Wars' on the channel 'Rambler', Pauline himself prefers a more anarchic approach and stays away from regulated competitions.

Provocative Art

Pauline's shocking robotic art often reflects what he believes the "industrial society would prefer to forget and ignore". 'Survival Research Labs' presents itself as an organization of creative engineers focused on redirecting techniques, tools, and principles of production, science, and military affairs. Instead of seeking profit, creating marketable products, or assisting in warfare, they prioritize the execution of unusual and risky performances.

One of Pauline's performance spectacles, 'Machine Sex', involved beheading frozen pigeons. He dressed seven frozen pigeons in doll-like Arab costumes and set them on a conveyor belt leading to a drum where their heads were severed by a sharp blade. The remains of the pigeons would then fall onto the floor. Pauline stated that his inspiration for this performance came from excerpts of Albert Camus' novel 'L'Étranger' ('The Stranger').

Personal Life and Attitude

In the summer of 1982, Pauline suffered a serious hand injury while experimenting with solid rocket fuel. In August 1990, his participation in the art festival 'ArtPark' in Lewiston, New York was canceled. The organizers discovered that Pauline intended to use a pile of Bibles as a "cover" for a Rube Goldberg spacecraft. The sacred scriptures were supposed to serve as a "heat shield" and burn during the performance.

Pauline has stated that he would like to create machines that can do what devices in science fiction novels can do. He is unconcerned whether his work is considered "art" or "technology". He has never sought favorable press reviews but can rightfully be called an "expert in attracting attention". Pauline rarely teaches or seeks financial support.

He is not willing to tie himself down to Hollywood, where big money is involved and the battle for an audience is fierce. He requires a free space where he can breathe easily and be accountable only to himself.