The Future of
(written by Doug Malewicki in 1998)
Robo is a MECHANICAL machine! If we humans take care of our machines through continued, proper preventative maintenance they can all still be operating 20 years from now! It's just like a lathe, a milling machine, your own automobile, or an airplane. The Space Shuttle will be used for more than 20 years, the B-52 Jet Bombers from the 50's may end up with an 80 year life! I own a red Porsche that I bought brand new in 1972 which still looks like brand new after 25 years and 383,000 miles - because I maintain it! (2008 - I still own it. Looks as good as new and after 35 years now has 425,000 plus miles on it!)
The question becomes when Robo is eventually retired "How do we do it with style?" I personally hate the thought of him being sold to a Universal Studios or some such and doing a once an hour show every day till he falls apart from neglect or people get bored with his antics. What a sad ending!
It could be worse. He could be bought by some car dealer as an attraction, parked at the front of the dealership holding a junk car 57 feet in the air in one hand to draw people in - slowly rusting away.
Me personally, I would love to see him retired as the piece of art that he really is! I had this thought a long time ago. Once for an Engineering Trade Show in Chicago, Illinois I even had a Robosaurus Diorama built that poked fun at the awful, ugly, and probably very expensive Picasso sculpture (I prefer to call it junk, not sculpture) located in Chicago's R. J. Daley Center Plaza. The photos of the Diorama and accompanying fake Chicago Tribune Article tell it all!
Robo "munches" on the Picasso! Note Bites and burns!
Robo destroys junk art!
All the people visiting our booth said that Robosaurus would be a cool improvement over the Picasso! Kids would love it! Could it breathe fire on the hour? If some skyscraper architect had clients willing to pay a couple of million dollars to obtain some frontispiece ART that just didn't sit there, we could surely create all kind of impressive noteworthy things!
The year 2000 and a new millennium is close at hand. (This is 2008. Wow! That was 8 years ago!) Isn't it time to put some of the cool computer and automation/sensor/motion control technologies developed in the last decades into making some new kind of art - not just boring stuff that sits there?
How about a huge animated Robo sized creature or stylized animated man or woman that is programmed to move so very, very sloooww, that you really couldn't stand there and see anything happening. But, when you come out of the skyscraper again at lunch time, you would glance over and check to confirm that YES the eyelid is opening; YES its' head is starting to turn to the left to look at something; and YES the right hand fingers definitely have closed their grasp ever so slightly. Come back in a week and see how the "art" has moved. Come back in a month, take some photos and ponder if this is the world's slowest pirouette or what? Something like this could be programmed randomly so it wouldn't repeat the same motion for a thousand years! Sort of static like the typical rigid sculpture, but infinitely more intriguing to the returning critic!
Obviously, the same things could be done with abstract objects. Giant company Logos could slowly disassemble into discreet colored abstract components, wander around slowly and come back into the actual Logo shape once a week (or once every hour - whatever the paying customer would like!)
Obviously, art of this nature would cost more initially to build and debug (static statues and welded junk requires no debugging nor testing). There also are those continual maintenance costs and creative anti-vandalism technology expenses. The question is would such awesome art be worth the extra capital and continual costs? That's like asking why do we humans like to see art in front of skyscrapers and in parks in the first place and why do we justify a budget for them? This humongous World Wide Web should have some answers. Any one out there want to hire Robosaurus when he retires as a night watchman disguised as an art frontispiece? Any skyscraper, museum or park architects want to hire me to brainstorm some radical concepts? It would be fun!