Artist Sean Hottois seems to have a fascination with human psychological quirks and, maybe, robots. And maybe robots with human psychological quirks. Some might even go as far as to call those quirks disorders. Not me, though. One such quirk is social anxiety in its most extreme form of agoraphobia. Hottois has constructed two robotic sculptures from fibreglass rods, 3D printed plastic, light emitting diodes, micro controllers, prototyping boards, piezo speakers and wire. Then, he’s done the unthinkable and programmed them to be agoraphobics.
Hottois’s first sculpture devoted to the condition was called Howard Hughes Jr. & Paula Deen. The agoraphobic device combined all of the aforementioned elements to create two towers of blinking lights and bleeping sounds. According to Hottois, “As viewers surround the pedestal both towers of lights elongate and contract becoming increasingly active until they reach a state of panic.” As God, luck or fate would have it, Howard Hughes & Paula Deen were “deliberately destroyed by a pre-tween in a tutu.” So, Hottois reconstructed the elements of the sculptures into a single tower called the AgoraProbe_1. The new sculpture “is lighter, stronger, more modern, and more resilient while also being afflicted with said phobia. In fear, it has come searching for its predecessor participating with the species it fears.” See the species in question approach the AgoraProbe in the video below:
These aren’t the only 3D works with LEDs and piezo speakers the artist has created. In response to the controversy over 3D printed guns, Hottois also built a sculpture titled “This is Not a Gun”. Looking like a pretty little flower, “This is Not a Gun” “responds only to a viewer who stands directly in its line of sight, and then it shoots off its mouth. The speed of the response is randomized using the viewer’s range as the numeric kernel.” Watch the completely non-threatening piece of printed plastic in action:
Other works from Hottois include a robot that paints abstract expression only when an audience watches, a clock that converts the 24 hour/60 minute/60 second “Anglo – Babylonian and Metric Time systems” into “much more palatable” increments of 100, and a solar-powered paparazzi simulator. Hottois’s work has a playfulness about it that is extremely refreshing. He has created an almost pointless series of robots that, rather than make life easier for humans by doing their labour, reflect human insecurities and absurdities. In this way, Hottois reminds viewers/participants that neither art nor life should be taken too seriously.
Source: Sean Hottois