As fantasy the SRL fulfills the fantasy of creating robots and machines that express human emotions or actions that people want to act on but can’t. Also they toy with being able to create machines that are dangerous and destroy things and blow objects up. So they are machines that are created for performance art, but not the kind we’re use to. They’re created to destroy instead of other performance pieces that create something in the end. The SRL team kind of started the whole robot craze in a sense, but most other people who created robots didn’t do it for artistic purposes. They seemed to have done it for research or just plain mechanics. One thing they have in common though is they create the robots to see what they can make them do. I think this began the idea of shows like Transformers or movies like The Terminator where robots had emotions, could speak, and were almost human. As humans we enjoy the idea of creating something that can be human like and relate to us and express emotions like we do. I think this is another one of their fantasies being fulfilled by created a robot to express anger or some other emotion or a robot that performs an everyday task like we do. I do believe the SRL teams are “yanks with tanks” because as Americans I know we love to watch things blow up and cause damage to each other. I feel like we’re a less reserved group of individuals than other places and we like to push things to see how far we can make them go. I think the SRL team’s work both critiques and promotes violence because they themselves are creating things to be destructive. On the other hand I think they are pushing them to the limit in front of an audience to make them afraid of it. If they didn’t make the pieces extremely dangerous to a point some one in the audience might be dumb enough to try it. I think a point they are trying to get across is that people shouldn’t build weapon like things without fully understanding what the machine can do. At the same time their promotion of violence is present in a sense because they are creating dangerous machines that sometimes act out violent feelings that people tend to have. One of the team members even said when he created his machine he wanted it to be angry and violent because he feels like that some times and he wanted his machine to express that for him. I think the SRL’s audience is a wide age range from children to adults. I think this is mainly because we all like to watch stuff blow up or catch fire. Also I think in a sense we are all scientists because we are fascinated by how things work. We want to see what something will do, so their pieces play with that destructive sense of curiosity we all have. It’s kind of primitive. We like fire. I think they were staged in Amsterdam because its sort of a laid back place. If they were stationed some place else like Libya or Afghanistan things could have been different. It has to do with culture. They might see the performance as something dangerous and very threatening. And in a more political approach radical groups might have seen it as an opportunity to get information for harmful purposes. Overall the reaction may have been different. Instead of seeing robots that had personality in a sense and fulfilled destructive feelings we all harbor for entertainment it could have misread as a threat.
Spring 2011 WASHers
8 years ago