matthias gommel
martina haitz
jan zappe

       aesthetics and power

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Public Lab with an Industrial Robot

'aesthetics and power' was the first public lab project of robotlab. Between February 17 and April 2, 2000 a industrial robot was situated in the foyer of the ZKM - Center of Art and Media Karlsruhe . For six weeks a public space existed for anyone to test the relationships between man and machine.

The six-axial articulated robot of the type KUKA KR 125 has a weight of 2.5 tons and a cruising radius of approx. 3 meters. It is able to move 125 kilogram at up to 2 meters per second [??with an accurate to two-tenths of a millimeter in space.]

Industrial robots are usually found in special industrial spaces. They are actors of an industrial culture but not a part of our everyday life. Sometimes these machines are shown in pictures or on television, but only a few people have direct contact with them.

What happens if a robot appears in public? What happens when a robot is in the presence of people who have preconceived ideas of it?

Through continual contact with robots in the public arena, people have the opportunity to both observe them and be in their presence. The massive appearance and the unusual conditions of power in robotic movements and sounds inspires the observer.

Possibilities of interaction intensify the contact between the human visitors and the machine. For that reason, technologies to control the robot via microphones and motion sensors were realized to provide a virtual interface to the visitors.

The indeterminacies of the concept are an important aspect of the project. Ideas generated in discussions and practical contributions are integrated in the actual work. Experts from different disciplines like dance, neuroscience, music, photography, pedagogy and film were invited too.


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