Design // Boano Prišmontas, James Dovey & Dr. Merritt Moore
Photos // Boano Prišmontas
Video // Rocio Chacon Studio
Special thanks to Universal Robot, DHH Timber, CNC Cutting Shop, Jason Lam, Giulia Ponzano, Sophia March, Sophie Driscoll, Parth Sharma & Akilesh Manchikanti.
"Re:Bot" is an artistic performance exhibited at The Koppel Project, part of the "Loading..." exhibition.
The performance transforms the environment of the art gallery into a spatial device able to sense human movements and trigger an interaction with the robot. The dialogue between humans and the machine is created by movement, encouraging the public to explore the space and question human's physical and emotional relationship with technology.
The robot is positioned in the middle of the space and forms a pivotal force around which the spectators gravitate. The journey around the robot is a mute act of discovery and exploration, stimulated by curiosity and propelled by the activation of sensors that are triggered by the visitor’s movements.
“Why, does the robot move? - Did I make it move? “
The meandering of the audience, which is the typical movement of a spectator in any art gallery, transcends to an act of artistic significance. The movements of the spectators are not passive or indifferent actions, they are the activators of the performance itself.
The robot interacts not only with movements but also with a light fixture mounted on it. This changes colour and pattern and becomes a device that seems able to express emotions.
The robot sits on a mirrored circular platform, not only to define a stage for the performance but also to establish a symbolic relationship with the idea of "self" and "being".
"Does it recognise its reflected image?"
The title “Re:bot” was chosen as it plays with the two key aspects of the performance. On one side "Re:'' pitching into the meaning “referring to, regarding, concerning, about”, as well as e-mail replies and digital communications. And on the other side "Bot", which personifies the robot or an automated chat function with machine learning algorithms, aka a “chatbot”. The two words “Re:” and “Bot” are therefore symbolic references to a dialogue between humans and machines, as well as evoking the word “Robot” when read or pronounced.