The Ancestral Path: The Dog Monkeys Journey through the Amorphic Society

An exhibition of 42 robots by the American collective Amorphic Robot Works, shown in the context of the "220V Robotics" event.

The Ancestral Path: The Dog Monkeys Journey through the Amorphic Society

The Ancestral Path; photo: Jan Sprij

Aug 1997
Aug 1997
22:00 to 22:00
location: V2_, Eendrachtsstraat 10, Rotterdam

The Ancestral Path: The Dog Monkeys journey through the Amorphic Society is an exhibition by Amorphic Robot Works. This group of artists from San Francisco has been developing mechanical and robot installations for eight years. The project The Amorphic Evolution is the realization of a totally mechanized poetical environment of robots and machines that offer a complete experience for all the senses (moving objects, interaction, light and sound). The Amorphic Evolution, about 42 mechanical works of art of varied nature, premiered 1996 in Madrid.

The works are sometimes primitive, sometimes high-tech, the sizes of these installations vary from 50cm up to 4m x 8m.The installations are robots, often with human features: they can draw and perform music. Often they look like people and they can react in a human way, some have a tendency towards group behavior, while others manifest themselves very individually and make decisions autonomously. But they remain machines in need of help, that act on the command of Amorphic Robot Works.

Ancestral Path by Amorphic Robot Works (1997) from V2_ on Vimeo.


The basic question that the project poses is that of the relationship between human and machine. Especially now that machines become more and more autonomous in their behavior and while they adopt a certain form of intelligence, pressing questions are raised about what we experience as typically human in a primitive form we find typical human properties in the machine. The question whether an object that has control over its own decisions and is not subject to the will of the artist can be art is a current question about art itself.

The design of the interaction - with the use of technical means - between artist, art work and the audience allows for a new kind of experiences. For artists, this forms a great challenge, which is why we see the rise of a large diversity of interaction models and a diversity of intentions of artists working in this field.

Chico MacMurtie: artistic leader
Todd Blair: program leader
Brian Kane: software development
Stock: Hardware and software development
Matt Dely: technical coordination
Mark 9: technical assistant


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