In an ever-expanding world of machines, we have exchanged our abacus for a calculator, our compass for Google Maps and our handwritten letters for emails.
Amongst all of this development, however, it seemed as if there was something that technology couldn’t really touch—art. Of course our methods have developed with the times; we’ve moved from pen and paper to Photoshop and from analog editing to Final Cut. One thing that remained constant however, was the unwavering need for the artist to actually create the art.
Benjamin Grosser (and his new installation the Interactive Robotic Painting Machine) might disagree with that assessment. Grosser is an artist, inventor and composer and a self-proclaimed technology buff whose art/technology projects like Speed of Reality and Personal Depersonalization System investigate how technology is changing the world. This machine produces its own art, and it does so by internalizing and reacting to the sounds it is subjected to. This video shows the robot whirling around in deep concentration, swishing its paintbrush in different pots of paint and then methodically, with stiff, jerky movements, bringing it back down on the canvas. The paint strokes, at first, seem random, but as the robot continues to work at it, patterns start to emerge.
The final products aren’t terrible at all; a connoisseur could possibly refer to them as amateur attempts at abstract art. Although we understand the experimental nature of the project and that producing art is not really the motive of this experiment—not yet, anyway—we wonder whether we are looking at the first of many examples of a different type of technological revolution. One that, this time around, doesn’t spare art.