Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ken Rinaldo's Quirky Robots

Ken Rinaldo is an artist known for interactive robotics and bio-art installations. He sure knows how to make robots cool, cute, and thought-provoking. His installation 'Fusiform Polyphony' consists of several long-necked robots suspended from a platform that seek eye contact with human beings. A camera in each of them captures facial expressions and sort of semi-randomly converts this into new dynamic behavior of the robot. These furry creatures are made of polyurethane casts, carbon fiber rods, laser cut aluminum, and for the uncanny-valley-factor, some human hair, supposed to suggest a hybrid state between robots and human beings. This work reminds one of Philip Beesley's installations, although Ken Rinaldo has managed to create a much different experience with highly energetic movement. And perhaps to some surprising, humans seem to be totally in love with the robots and vice versa. There seems to be hardly any distrust or fear, maybe some cautionary exploration at most.

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