This installation leverages the cues of domestic space still present in DEMO Project's converted-home gallery as a backdrop for considering resistance—in both animal and machine—against the human force to domesticate and dominate. Raccoons (notoriously impossible to domesticate, but known for their fondness for human trash and their misunderstood propensity for washing things) and Roombas (self-driven robotic vacuum cleaners that often make bigger messes than they clean up) join forces to create chaos in the gallery space, emphasizing their perversely pleasurable defiance of human will.

Faux raccoons, Roomba vacuum cleaner robots on loan, household cleaning supplies, custom-made wallpaper in Memphis style patterns, three drawings referencing social-media posts about robots and raccoons.
Photos: Will Arnold

Raccoon names: Melanie (named after the internet-famous pet raccoon trained to use a broom), Rebecca, (the pet raccoon of Calvin and Grace Coolidge during his presidency), Pepsi, and Twizzler (boy-scout camp pets of the owner of one of the Roombas).

Roomba names (given by their owners): Roomby, Roomba, Brave Little Baby, and Rosie (a back-up robot in case another is broken, named after the robotic maid on the Jetsons cartoon show)

Installation of "Dominus" at DEMO Project in Springfield, Illinois

Video documentation of roomba raccoons in the DEMO Project space, August 2017 (2 mins).
Video footage: Will Arnold, with contributions from Brytton Bjorngaard.