Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Improbable Monument Proposal: The Robot of Love

Meet ROB!
ROB is the prototype for the Robot of Love 1.0.
ROB is a roaming server powered by solar and wind energy.
ROB has a built-in camera that feeds live to his website
Beginning in Eureka, California, he travels zig-zag across the United States.

How ROB was conceived...
More people watched the reality shows American Idol and Dancing with the Stars in two weeks time than voted in the Presidential election in 2008, one of the most definitive elections in our lifetime. Is it really more important to know whether or not Lawrence Taylor or Steve-O from Jackass can Mambo as opposed to choosing the leader of the free world? Unfortunately, the answer to that question has become yes to many Americans.
In a time of recession, it is easy to see that people may partake in escapism, but this is not a new trend. The history of reality television dates to the early 1990s, and the networks have seen a significant growth in the market, significant enough to utilize almost all air time to the latest creation in the genre.

What ROB represents...
Mind-numbing television coincides with the apathy of the public at large. This type of television offers nothing of value to the people who sit entranced by the possibility that they, too, could find themselves sharing a house with ten other obnoxious people with the sole purpose of humiliating others for some sort of financial gain. This form of entertainment is the prime example of the watering down of any sense of culture that may have existed in the United States, and most of the western world.
In a darker sense, reality TV is a self-degrading assault on intelligence that permits people to relish complacency. If the American television viewer is preoccupied with which celebrity will feel the wrath of Donald Trump on any given week, then they aren't paying attention to the true reality of the world we live in today.

Why ROB is important...
The Robot of Love is true reality television. ROB will film anyone and everyone he meets during his journey. As a roaming server, he has a built in camera that feeds live footage to his website
Reality TV makes up almost 50% of all programming, which is quite significant. Of more concern, it seems that once we settle in for our favorite reality TV show we see and hear little that is going on around us. ROB is pure reality, because nothing is more real than life itself.
ROB mirrors life by broadcasting real people in real clothes on real streets, live to the world.

Where ROB goes...
The Robot of Love travels zig-zag across the United States directed by his built-in GPS device.
ROB begins at the furthest Western point in the furthest Western city, Eureka, California. He ends at the furthest Eastern point, West Quoddy Lighthouse in the furthest Eastern city, Lubec, Maine.

ROB in Eureka, California

ROB in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

ROB in Lubec, Maine

ROB's gadgets and configurations...
The Robot of Love requires combinations of many different technologies to function completely. These include: GPS locator and mapper, video camera, independent server, solar panels, wind turbines, tractor wheels and a screen for communication.
ROB is made of recycled metals and is completely weather resistant. He is green and produces zero waste, relying on sun and wind power to travel.

Play with ROB...
The Robot of Love is built on the core basis of interactivity. ROB’s video feed is transmitted live to his website of
On the website, witnesses and participants can communicate with each other. Space is allotted for participants to post stories of their experiences with ROB, as well as their feelings before and after meeting him.

ROB and the reality of the present...
The Robot of Love allows the public to see what is true and real as opposed to what it on called “reality” on the television.
Everyone is a member of the audience. Everyone is a participant. Everyone benefits from him because ROB mirrors society. ROB allows us to see who we really are: beautiful and unique individuals.
ROB challenges conventional monuments by his constantly moving location, and is never still. ROB examines a cultural phenomena instead of a single occurrence or event.

The cost of ROB's love...
Canon Vixia HF200 Camera= $449.99
Unified Communication Internet Server= $500 (plus $19 a year)
Recycled steel= free
003 Stainless Steel Circulator, 1/40 HP Solar Panels= $179
Wind turbine (propeller connected to inverter then to generator and engine)= $2,000
LCD Communication screen= $149
Tank wheel= $200
Labor= $3,500 ($20/hr full time)
TOTAL: $7,277.98 (+ $19 a year for internet)

Can ROB stand the test of time?
To carry out the Robot of Love, ROB must be built, from the ground up. A website must be set up and linked to his server. Finally, Rob must be placed in Eureka, California, facing East.
ROB’s journey across the country will take hundreds of years, if not thousands. He will grant the industrialized world a second chance, by illuminating the absurdity of our materialistic, consumer-driven lives.
If only planting a seed in the brain of each of his participants, ROB can ignite a fire of thought. ROB has the potential to transform a slumber into an earthquake.

Improbable Monument: Sketch and Ideas

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hunting for Banksy

London-native street artist Banksy, has apparently made a trip to San Francisco, California. About 2, or so, weeks ago spray-painted stenciled images started appearing around the city. For longevity and survival, Banksy acts in a clandestine manner, always hiding his face and identity. No one knew of his venture in California until his work started popping up all over the city, showing at least 6 works total. As an avid Banksy supporter, I decided to use this rare opportunity to scavenger the city for his work. I apologize for the poor image quality, I had to use my phone to capture the photos...

The first piece I saw was on Haight Street in between Cole and Clayton. On the upper wall of the Red Victorian building (yes, the one that Jimi Hendrix used to live in) there is large rat, a signature of Banksy, with a long red line circling the second floor of the surrounding buildings. At the end of the red line, there is text written in red spray paint saying, "this is where I draw the line."

The second piece I saw was on Mission Street at Sycamore, directly on the back of Cafe Prague. This piece is a stencil of an American Indian sitting on the ground holding a "No Trespassing" sign.

The third is on Valencia Street at 20th. The text reads "This'll look nice when its framed."

The fourth, and last, piece I saw is in Chinatown at Grant Street. This is my favorite of the bunch. Banksy took pre-existing graffiti of a peace sign and heart on the side of a Chinese bakery and added a stencil of a doctor with a stethoscope. When I was outside the business taking pictures, the owner was installing plexiglass over the artwork in order to preserve it. How beautiful is that?!

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to finish the scavenger hunt, because the process took too long with MUNI. I started at 5 and was out hunting until 9. I hope to see the other two works sometime soon, before the city or business owners paint over them. Every lover of subversive art should spend the time to witness Banksy in person. Or maybe you will just happen to catch a piece while you're out on the town. Either way, it is definitely worth it.