The ‘Trouble in Paradise/Medi(t)ation of Survival‘ exhibition has opened at the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto. The opening was by invite only. Somehow (???) an invitation managed to fall into a photocopier and copies managed to get attached to crates of beer that were left outside the Museum to be taken freely. Rumor has it that by some strange twist of fate someone had been distributing flyers throughout Kyoto that said free beer would be available at the Museum at exactly the same time as the opening…
Trans-Acting: Double-Axel Rotating Stage/Walking Afloat—A Topological Experiment on Time Space and Memory Formation Based on Studies of Space Travel, Dementia, Gardens, and Developmental Disorders – Satoru Takahashi + Shiro Matsui
The exhibition catalog is in the form of a ‘workbook’. Several pages are intentionally blank. Additional materials, cameras, copiers and printers are available in the Museum so that visitors to the exhibition can complete their own catalog with the things they find most interesting.
Trouble in Paradise/Medi(t)ation of Survival at MoMAK gets its first visitors later today. We have a few hours left to fiddle with things and give THR_33 a few last tweaks.
Cezanne checking the Smile Scan. It covers quite a wide area and is very responsive. It will find and track up to 2 faces and will open the tea-house “eyes” based on the percentage that those faces are smiling. It scans the passage between THR_33 and Critical Art Ensemble‘s Genetic Modification Theater. This is also the main route between 2 of the Museum’s main gallery spaces.
Packing the robots (very carefully) in the case we got for them. After all that, TSA at Detroit airport partially disassembled our robots, then flung the parts they had taken off inside the shells and badly packed them up again. We didn’t know till we got to Kyoto. They undid a bunch of nuts – so the robots shipped with Arduinos and sensors rattling around inside them. They also undid the toast mechanism. So our first morning at the Museum was spent fixing the robots.
Taisuke Murakami made the system that allows the tea-house “eyes” to be driven by the OMRON Smile Scan. Here he is pictured explaining to us how to connect the system.
“Designed for objective and quantitative evaluation of smiles, “Smile Scan” utilizes Omron’s “OKAO Vision” face sensing technology. The technology relies on facial data gathered from over 1 million people, accumulated through over 10 years of study of the human face. The system measures the degree of a person’s smile from a camera-recorded facial image based on its original criteria using facial key point movements. The resulting data is displayed onscreen with a percentage reading from 0% to 100%.”
In THR_33 this percentage controls how much the tea-house “eyes” open.
Day 2. Unpacking the tea-house crate. The Museum staff were “amused” by the fact that we used 4 different kinds of screws (Phillips, 2 sizes of Torx and Robertson) and put them in from every possible angle (including from underneath). They are more used to unpacking delicate and valuable objets d’art – MoMAK chief curator Shinji Kohmoto (pictured on the right, arms outstretched) said they could enjoy this because it was “wild“.
Michael Hohl hit the nail on the head:
“It reminds my of Buckminster Fuller’s ‘dymaxion car’ that could also turn on the spot (though without a tethering cable 😉 )”
All 3 robots are hybrids of vehicles and products: TST_003 = Dualit + Airstream; RDO_002 = Bush TR82 + GM Futurliner and as Michael pointed out, MXR_011 = KitchenAid Mixer + Dymaxion Car. We are playing with futurism as a ‘retro’ phenomenon. The styling and color palette is based on the 1950s RayGun Gothic – or as we like to call it SodaPop Chic!
Other (more subtle) references in the color choice:
MXR_011’s fire engine red is simply the color of our actual KitchenAid mixer.
First test of the assembled RDO_002. Mostly working – the ‘crab scuttle’ pulse needs tweaked. This is to keep it within the constraint of the 42″ platform within the tea-house (it will be mostly unsupervised for 2 months).
Since RDO_002 has the “most extensive dynamic tunable capabilities from both in-orbit and deep space sources” we thought it would be appropriate if it chose to communicate via samples from classic sci-fi. HAL, ORAC, Robby, Johnny 5 and C3P0 are all in its repertoire (the Jetsons, Blade Runner, the Nostromo’s computer from Alien and a Clanger are in there too).
The other robots need final assembly – then its off to Japan (coals to Newcastle…)