Machine Being Machine

The large drawings in this room were created by a LEGO Mindstorms robot. The robot was programmed to turn left randomly when sensing changes from dark to light on the paper. By attaching pens or brushes with pivotal arms, we were able to engineer a certain amount of “play” in the robots marks, resulting in works which are a combination of machine-like repetition, fragile pen lines, and paint strokes either dragged by brush or made when the robots’ wheels ran through wet paint. In some of the painted works, we set out lightweight cups for the robot to knock over and spread on its course. The resulting images are a striking balance between two critical tensions: randomness and repetition, order and chaos. The two videos mounted on the wall show the robot making a drawing from two views: one from a distance as we might view it from our eye, and one from the robot’s eye view made with a wireless security camera.