Survival Research Labs <1980>
Matt Heckert was born in Kent County, Rhode Island and moved to San Francisco in 1977 to attend the San Francisco Art Institute. During the 1980's, Heckert was one of a trio of artists, with Mark Pauline and Eric Werner, who developed Survival Research Laboratories (SRL). His contribution to SRL's machine performances included the creation of various remote and radio controlled robot vehicles, as well as development of innovative soundtracks incorporating sounds as diverse as industrial noise and dialogue from b-movies.
Upon leaving SRL in 1988, he embarked on a solo career, focusing on the creation of computer controlled mechanical sound sculptures with which he would perform. As an ensemble, these works are titled the Mechanical Sound Orchestra. Heckert uses machine forms to suggest personality and dramatic interaction among various moving elements. He has performed with the Mechanical Sound Orchestra in Europe and the United States, including such venues as the Marstall Theater (Munich), Sonambiente Festival (Berlin), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York). He is a recipient of numerous awards: Golden Reel Award (1988), WESTAF/NEA Sculpture Fellowship (1991) and the Prix Arts Electronica (1997).