Mechatronic art: beyond craft-fetishism

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  • Mechatronic art: beyond craft-fetishism

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  • Abstract

    In Sabrina Raaf’s Grower (2006), a robot detects levels of Carbon Dioxide in a gallery and draws grass on the walls. In my public art installation, (re)collector (2007), surveillance cameras are set up throughout a city, programmed to recognize and record anything resembling a scene from the movie Blow Up. In Philippe Rahm’s project Interior Weather (2008), light, humidity and temperature readings from one room are used to compose stories in another room. I want to provide some historical and theoretical context for this kind of work: work that intelligently responds to, and more importantly, generates knowledge from its environment. I would like to distinguish works such as these as examples of ‘mechatronic art’: systems-based works that involve customized mechanical and electronic devices to physically interface real world data with computer software. I want to argue that mechatronic art involves a specific set of vocabularies that separates it from other forms of digital art, in the same fashion that we might distinguish painting from sculpture, or video from sound.