Archive for the ‘week 3_ the industrial age, kinetic art, and robotics’ Category

Week 3 :: The Impersonal/Personal Duality of Reproduction by Eric Bollens

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

In principle a work of art has always been reproducible. Man-made artifacts could always be imitated by men. Replicas were made by pupils in practice of their craft, by masters for diffusing their works, and, finally, by third parties in the pursuit of gain. Mechanical reproduction of a work of art, however, represents something new. (Benjamin I)

For the first fifteen hundred years of Christianity, scholars copied the Bible by hand. The physical books reached only a small minority, mostly just priests and elite members of society; the Church relied on its leaders to disseminate the word of God to the masses. The advent of the printing press in the sixteenth century changed this, creating a great upsurge in Christianity, allowing for an individual connection to God for the first time as each family could suddenly own their own copy of Christianity’s holy text.

Both Benjamin and Davis hint towards the great paradox created by mechanical reproduction: when a piece of art can be duplicated countless times, ink drop for ink drop, decibel for decibel, pixel for pixel, does it not become impersonal? And yet at the same time, this duplication allows for greater personalization. Countless people can own the same piece of digital or photographic art, and yet it can mean something completely different to each. Anyone can purchase a copy of the Bible, or Wittman, or Marx, and yet no two people will come away with exactly the same interpretation.

Benjamin and Davis both spend a good amount of time covering how the role of an actor has changed from live performances to scripted movies; in the latter, the actor does not even have to play a role in any sort of chronological progression. They also mention how the digital age has changed much of traditional art. “[The] mechanical reproduction of art [even] changes the reaction of the masses toward art.” (Benjamin XII) Interestingly, though, neither Benjamin or Davis touch on music, and yet music may be the best art form to explore the paradox of joint personal and impersonal influences of the industrial and digital ages.

Up until the sixteenth century, with the exception of secular songs and hymns, most musical compositions were unique to the performer. Commercial printing allowed, like with books, for a dissemination of musical compositions like never before. Orchestras all across Europe eventually came to play the same works. In the Baroque period, Bach served as a principle example of the old school of thought: after a performance, he regarded a piece as done and would throw it away. By the Classical period, though, composers such as Haydn and Mozart would widely circulate their works. At that point, the individuality of a performance came no longer from the pieces played but instead by the orchestra playing it. The melodies of the best orchestras, of course, belonged solely to the elite through most of the Classical and Romantic eras, but that would change with the invention of audio recording mediums. Suddenly, music was accessible to anyone with a radio, and, with the advent of audio recordings, more musicians and more varieties of music became successful.

No one could have foreseen the change coming with the digital age, though. Growing up in the 1990’s, I remember hearing the predicted doom of the recording industry because of the digital age: everything from autotune to filesharing. In reality, the industry wasn’t doomed, but instead fated to change. Instead of just songwriting and composing, musicians can now compose, record, and produce their own music without needing a label or anything. From Soulja Boy, a rapper who simply put some rhymes on YouTube, to Ryan Leslie, a skilled musician who composes and plays what seems like an entire orchestra from the comfort of his home, to masters of electronic beats and loops by the names of Crookers, A-Trak, and Klaas, the face of music has changed because of the Digital Age.

Take a brief listen to this track:

Yes, it’s Beethoven, but a very personalized take on it. These personalized takes can be found everywhere, not just on this song, but in remixes of practically every piece of music out there. In a way, music, like other forms of art, has been depersonalized through mechanical reproduction. But, at the same time, it has also allowed for new individuality, creativity, and collaboration. I think Davis captures the duality of reproduction in all forms of art perfectly here:

Digital bits…match in precise, soldierly fashion, one figure after another. This means that any video, audio, or photographic work of art can be endlessly reproduced without degradation, always the same, always perfect. …But more to the point, each of these bits can be endlessly varied. My photographic self-portrait can be turned upside down, my ear can be chopped off, the background can be changed to gold… (Davis 2)

Week 3- Fantasy Robotics by Angelica Merida

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

This week’s lecture focused around the Industrial Age, Kinetic Art, and Robotics. During lecture on Tuesday, when professor Vesna was showing pictures of Ken Feingold’s work with robots, I was instantly reminded of a class I took last year about Disney Imagineering ( yes the oh-so-famous theater Disney class). In particular, I was reminded of Walt Disney’s passion for integrating art into his theme park. Hence the reason why we now have Audio- Animatronics (AA), or more simply, animated robotic characters.  Disney’s company pioneered the integration of robotics into live entertainment. The Enchanted Tiki Room was the first attraction created centering around the use of audio-animatronics. These animated birds have since the opening of the Tiki Room, attracted a large audience.

Over the years, the technology behind the birds and other characters in the Disney parks has continued to improve and vary in sophistication. For example, one of the more sophisticated audio-animatronics is Stitch from Stitch’s Great Escape in the Magic Kingdom. He requires full body movement from the tips of his fingers down to particular facial expressions.  With the advancement of technology, more sophisticated AA models have been developed so that some actually can interact with park guests.

The film industry has also been a well known user of robotics like audio-animatronics. Jurassic Park, to me, wa sone of the best movies to use robots in a realistic manner. ( well as real as you can get in a movie about dinosaurs living now). Film has always integrated the idea of robots from The Metropolis, to movies like A.I. Where do you leave Star Wars with R2-D2 and C-3PO?

Robotics has even filtered down to urban art  like Graffiti. Welcome the GraffitiWriter.

This robot, basically, is like a dot matrix printer that can quickly write any programmed text.  I’ve seen this robot at work, and although it doesn’t (yet) create intricate designs outside of color control with the placement of spray can colors, it’s a pretty neat robot.

Integration of robotics into the graffiti art realm isn’t widespread. Many artists are underground, not trained in fine arts, and mostly unknown unless you track down their work. However some have started working on ways of using simple robotics and computer programming to create art. Like these guys

Smoke Stacks used to Reduce Emission by Rocio Flores

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Ever since the existence of the first flora and fauna on the earth, there has been a constant emission of CO2 on to the earth’s atmosphere. However ever since the existence of humans on earth, they have become the major emitters of CO2. Their major contributed initiated with the existence of the first assembly line, by Henry Ford, created in the beginning of the Nineteen century. The assembly line was utilized to create interchangeable parts for the Model T, however they didn’t predict that the car they would building would evolutionize to become a major contaminator.

Sure the Model T was created during an era of industrialization, where all was going well for the country, for we were becoming financially stable. However have we forgotten of the technological advances that man can create to improve the quality of life? The answer is no, however there is very little being done at the time.

Each year we, the US, emit 21% of the total CO2 emitted yearly. The CO2 as many may know is one of the famous green house gasses which contribute to Global Climate change. CO2 is emitted by any object that uses coal or fuel to produce energy, in order to produce energy fuel and coals are disassociated and release CO2. Smoke stack in factories and boats are some of the various examples of CO2 emitters.

As we can see that the US is based on the housing of factories for the creation of many of our products, and there is a vast amount of them throughout the US, why not utilize them to help reduce the emission of CO2? I believe that through the factories we can reduce a large sum of emission of CO2, by creating efficient smoke stacks.

The smoke stack that would be created would be based on the model of a Membrane that NASA created to help travel to mars. The membrane that would be created in the smoke stacks would be semi-permeable, meaning that some gases can be released. However the membrane will help separate the molecules before they are released into the environment, preferably CO2. A great example that membranes can and will function is the project by Lockheed for NASA, Lockheed states that since mars ‘s atmosphere is created of CO2 then the CO2 can be used to produce rocket fuel.

The membrane would be like a carbon filter that would capture carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide would be captured by the filter, for the filter will be highly similar to the composition of CO2. Creating this filter will not require any extra work to be done to the gas being emitted from the factory. Rather the gas as it finds a route to escape will use the smoke stacks, which will have the carbon filter capturing the carbon dioxide, allowing for the release of clean air into the environment and help lead to higher oil and gas rate recovery rates.

Placing such carbon filters in smoke stacks will allow for a better environment for all. The filters will allow for a reduction of Carbon dioxide to the environment, slowing down global warming and bettering the health of many citizens. Who knows if we accomplish the reduction of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, we may step foot in to the industrial period of the 21st century.

~Rocio Flores

Week 3_Robotics by Nolan Nishimura

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Robotics is often associated with machines that resemble and function similar to humans due to movies. These movies often portray the machines negatively however due to the fact that machines are somewhat unpredictable. This sounds counterintuitive however because machines are meant to prevent random variables which results in higher accuracy. Movies that present machines negatively are somewhat ironic because the producers and directors of the movies use machines in order to make their movie. Robotics is more than just artificial humanoids. It consists of machines that do manual tasks. These machines usually have some degree of human characteristic and functionality however because that is the design that we are the most used to. It is easier to imagine a hand picking up an object other than some other type of mechanism doing the same job. Evidence of this includes the video we watched during class about the study that showed people preferring to play against a robot that looked like a human rather than just a robot.

The most negative effect of the study of robotics and the advancement in the field is the fact that we invent these machines to carry out tasks for us. This results in a certain degree of laziness for us because whenever something is needed we can always create something to fulfill that need. Efficiency is important and the idea of a machine doing something like moving around and picking up objects is cool, however there needs to be a limit to how far we can go. I do consider robotics to be art however because the design and the movement of the machine can be considered beautiful and compelling. The interesting thing about art is that the advancement of art not only involves new ways to paint, or new perspectives, it also involves the search for new mediums. We’ve gone from cave walls, to paper, to pictures and movies, to sculptures, and now to robotics. The idea that anything can be used as art is exciting and promotes creativity and thinking outside of the box. Although Davis suggested that the idea of originality is declining and that close to nothing is original anymore, I think recreating something is, in fact, original. For example we can redesign what we think a car should look like or the components of a computer. Why do we need to use a steering wheel to drive? Why do we need to use a mouse and keyboard as tools to use a computer? When thinking like this, we can create new ideas on what we think things should look like and redesign them. What we can create is original to me and also considered to be art.

This is a link to a neat video that shows a robot which can follow a face and when does not move, takes a picture of what it is looking at. Sort of like a fusion of the picture medium of art and the robotics medium of art. These pictures are then uploaded to a website linked in the video.

The creators of the robot’s website:

They are involved in creating robots that help in the production of movies.

Nolan Nishimura

Maxwell Blanchard’s A brief insight and history on robotics

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

As technology advances, simple observation provides insight to the facet of science that is invariably affected by art. As time progresses newer forms emerge, from the practitioners of circuit bending to the less simplistic Stelarcs of the world.

Artificial Intelligence is defined as the study and design of intelligent agents,”where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions which maximize its chances of success.”  The term was originally used by a man named John McCarthy who defined it less specifically as the “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.”  Nonetheless, the idea of artificial intelligence has become progressively popular over the last century, not just among those in the fields of science, but among those outside as well. Personally, even as a kid i can remember visiting the Convention center and observing some of the first available robotic dogs. Obviously they were relativity new and cost several thousand dollars, but it caused so much uproar since it supposedly responded to human interaction and its actions were more random, depending on the circumstances, contributing to a sense of realism.  Obviously the dog was designed to imitate its biological counterpart.

The beginnings of artificial intelligence occurred back in the 1940’s when a group of men such as, Norbert Weiner and Claude Shannon gathered to investigate the possibilities of constructing an electronic brain. They worked on creating artificial neurons, later what what be referred to as a neural network.  Some of these machines exhibiting what would be considered artificial intelligence came out of their work, such as the John Hopkins Beast. It was built in the 1960’s and had the ability to “survive on its own.”  It would search for outlets to plug into and recharge utilizing sonar.  However it was built using analog circuitry, not a computer or any digital electronics. These are circuits that operate with currents and voltages that vary as time progresses and have no “abrupt transitions between levels.” As opposed to digital circuits which are much more easily manipulated using computers and alow for less transmission error. Below is a picture of the “Beast.”

To refer back to science and art “advancing towards” each other, i believe Stelarc is probably the best example of what professor Vesna refers to as the Third Culture. Artistic idealogy expressed with cutting edge technology. However there are numerous other artist/scientist incorporating the same into their work.  Take for example Alan Rath. In my personal opinion, i think he tends to the artistic side much more than stelarc. Nonetheless i would consider him a progressive categorized in the same “Third Culture” as Stelarc. If you’d like to check out some of his work its available online at  The site is pretty interesting and includes various Rath works of art.
The philosophical accompaniment that comes with the idea of AI is unavoidable and has become an extremely popular idea for movies.  As great examples of this as I-Robot and Bicentennial man are, nothing competes with the Matrix.  I think it embodies the fear of humanity being controlled, manipulated, and overpowered by machines better than any other movie. It’s one of the most popular sci-fi movies out there.

Week 3_ Reproduction in a Different Light by Dalton Abbott

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

While reading Walter Benjamin’s article, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, I was immediately reminded of one of my favorite artist’s most famous paintings. When Benjamin writes of the ills of reproduction, he discusses the idea that reproduction does not accurately depict the historical context of the work in question, and thus does not reflect its true significance in the grand scheme of things. This suggestion is the first reason that Edward Munch’s “The Scream” came to mind, as his reason for painting this disturbing, perplexing piece remain relatively unknown. When asked about his state of mind or thought process while creating his masterpiece, Munch is deflective and indirect, and much speculation still occurs about his true intentions and psychological state. “The Scream” was painted in 1893, not on the eve or during a brutal, senseless war, and not during a time of international turmoil. Munch was not known to suffer from any sort of mental condition, but the brooding, ominous implications of the painting is appear obvious.

The reason I bring this up is because Benjamin’s idea that the reproduction of an art piece detracts from its overall significance due to the lack of  a historical context, is, in many cases at least, completely invalid. I made a point of Munch’s mindset and the current events of the time so as to show that Munch’s true intentions in painting such a piece are implicit and personal, rather than a simple reproduction of the current mental state of society in his time period. In my experience, artists are much more commonly displaying their personal struggles, triumphs, and tribulations through their art, and most of the time these different sensations come from personal experiences and revelations. Munch’s painting could have been created any time in the past one thousand years and, even in today’s society, it’s dark, disturbing nature is still evident to the observer, and it still evokes the same feelings it would have many years ago in Munch’s time. Art, whether one views the original piece or a reproduction, requires one to have a sense of empathy much more so than a knowledge of the history of the time. Benjamin seems to be suggesting that one should not study an art piece to discern it’s significance, but rather analyze the historical implications of the time. In my experiences, artists attempt to connect with their observers on a very basic emotional level, and Benjamin’s entire argument contradicts this notion. I would assume that artists are much more concerned with viewers analyzing and reacting to the ideas and insinuations of their work than making sure only their original art, and not an exact replication, is studied. Accordingly enough, Munch reproduced “The Scream” in many different mediums and I do not feel that these reproductions took away from his original piece.

A distinction that I would like to expound upon is the idea that exact reproduction in art differs greatly from the alternative form of psuedo-reproduction, which can be seen most commonly in film. This method of taking an work of artistic and creative originality and generically modifying it, usually for financial gain, is extremely commonplace in film. The obvious difference between the two forms of reproduction is the exact reproduction, while admittedly attempting to capitalize on a piece of art, reproduces the art in its pure, unmitigated form, while reproduction of the ideas and styles witnessed in a popular film often leads to a watered down, inferior result. With extremely few exceptions, the creation of a sequel to a brilliant film or the reproduction of a foreign film by an American sequel ends in disaster. I am an avid film viewer, and my general area of specialization is the French New Wave. Jean Luc Godard’s “Breathless” is one of my favorite films, and was revolutionary in its originality and overall brilliance. It pained me to see that Richard Gere starred in an American remake of this excellent film in 1983, and after I watched it, my low expectations were barely met.

The aforementioned example was an attempted exact replication of Godard’s film, but the creation of sequels to previously successful and well - received films are often equally unsuccessful. In examining films such as the Godfather, the studio was fortunate enough to convince Francis Ford Coppola to direct a second film, which many would argue is better than the first. However, greed once again proved victorious, and a third sequel was made.Though the third film is not bad by any means, it pales in comparison to the first two, which emphasizes my point that the attempted reproduction of a successful formula is often unsuccessful. The film industry, more so than traditional art in many ways, is motivated by financial interests, hence the influx of generic, uncreative, formulaic films into theaters, as films, at least in terms of the taste of the American public, rarely require creativity or overall quality to succeed.

By Dalton Abbott

Week 3 - futurama -

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

The article, “the work of art in the age of digital reproduction”, reminded me of an episode, named “I Dated a Robot”, in an animated series, “futurama”. For readers who are new to the series, here is a brief summary of futurama: The series aired from 1999 to 2003. I think it is a classic series that ended too early. It spawned five seasons where the fifth season was originally a movie. The series began with a delivery boy, Philip J. Fry, tripping and falling into a cryogenic machine. He was frozen for 1000 years until the year 3000. After he was unfrozen, he eventually got a job as a galactic delivery boy where he is part of a crew that delivered things all around outer space. Because the series is set in the future, robots are almost complete replicas of living human beings except it is questionable if these robots have a conscience.

Philip J. Fry

Philip J. Fry

One of the things that the article, “The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction (An Evolving Thesis: 1991-1995)“, is pointing out is the difference between the imitation and the original. Because I didn’t do a thorough reading of the article, according to the article, it seems like the only thing different between the original and the imitation nowadays, when a lot of things are digitized, is that aura… I would also like to add that there is another thing different between the imitation and the original which might not have been pointed out in the article. Replicas are disposable. After we use it and when we don’t need it anymore, we dispose of it. Originals, if disposed, are gone forever. This difference between original and replica brings about an interesting question of what is original in the futurama episode, “I Dated a Robot”. Near the end of the date between the Lucy liu robot and Philip J. Fry, the lucy liu robot did something that was different from all the other lucy liu robots. When all the Lucy liu robots were switched to capture-Philip-J.-Fry mode, fry’s robot seems unaffected. There might be a rational explanation that wasn’t covered in the story, but it was an unexpected twist. It almost suggest that the human-look-alike robot programmed to like fry was capable of independent thought and chose to like fry. At the end of the story, Fry meets with the real lucy Liu. Turns out, some gigantic company has been making replicas of her without her permission. The real lucy liu demands Fry to deactivate the replica.

It is questionable whether the lucy liu robot is just a replica or an original. Here is the transcript to the moving ending of this episode:

Fry: Lucy Liubot, if I don’t survive the corn, I want you to know that I love you as much as a man can love a computerised image of gorgeous celebrity. Which it turns out is a lot.

Liubot: Oh, Fry, I love you more than the moon and the stars and the (mechanical voice) poetic image number 37 not found.

[She stands up and the popcorn hits her. She walks towards the window.]

Fry: What are you doing, darling? Get down!

[The Liubot points the projector at the other Liubots. They starts to swell up.]

Liubot #3: (mechanical voice) Light hot. Oil temperature rising.

Liubot #4: (mechanical voice) Oh, no.

Liubot #5: (mechanical voice) Malfunction.

Liubot #6: (mechanical voice) This ain’t good.

Liubot #7: (mechanical voice) System error.

[They explode. Fry's Liubot flickers on the floor.]

Fry: You saved us. Are you alright?

Liubot: Yes, my love. I’ll be just (mechanical voice) massive corn clog in port seven.

Liu: Are you the last copy of me?

Liubot: Yes.

Liu: Erase her, Fry.

Fry: What? No!

Liu: Fry, when you downloaded her without my permission, you stole my image, and in the end that’s all I really have. That and the largest gold nugget in the world, one mile in diameter.

Fry: But I just downloaded her because I love you.

Liu: If you love the real Lucy Liu and not just what you’ve seen in movies, genre-straddling lawyer shows and kiss-ass articles in People magazine, you’ll blank out that robot.

[Tears well up in Fry's eyes. The Liubot flickers.]

Fry: I’m sorry. Hug me, Liubot.

[She does. Fry reaches behind her hair and presses the "erase" button.]

Liubot: I’ll always remember you, Fry– (mechanical voice) Memory deleted.

[Her image flickers away, leaving a battered blank robot.]

Bender: I know it hurts, buddy. But at least you’re not in a sick relationship with a robot anymore.

Fry: Uh-huh. And I guess now maybe I can get to know the real Lucy Liu.

Bender: Pft! Yeah, at our wedding!

Liu: It’s true. Bender and I are in love.

Fry: But, but–

Bender: Don’t be a prude, Fry!

[He kisses Liu's jar while Fry looks on, eyes twitching.]

[Closing Credits.]

Week #3: Robotics in Film and Society - Jeff Poirier

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

The direction of this week’s lectures and blogs has been, in my opinion, a perfect example of the intertwining importance of science in art. For example, the robotics of the Survival Research Labs, Ken Feingold, and Chico MacMurtrie are all highly advanced technologically, but all have an underlying emphasis on the conceptual and philosophical artistry of the creations. Stelarc, another artist/scientist we have observed, also emphasizes the artistry behind his robotics.

When one examines the advancement of robotics, he too must notice the parallel changes occurring in art. This parallel dynamic is most prominent in the film industry, a branch of art that has been facing robotics from the famous Metropolis to today. Throughout film history, robots have often been portrayed as hostile and something to be feared. This idea of technology taking control of humanity is neither outdated nor extinguished, especially with the realities of today’s robotics (which I will discuss later). For example, in “The Matrix” trilogy, the very existence and survival of humankind is being contested by a civilization of machines.

This approach to robotics in film has been successful in creating a psychological and futuristic thriller, but it is not the only interpretation of robotics. For example, I grew up watching “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” a comedy show that utilizes endearing robots (puppets) to inspire comedy.

Another example of robotics playing a protagonist role in film is the recent production “Wall-E.” In this fun children’s movie, the robots actually represent a strong political and philosophical commentary against present-day human culture. Such usage of robotics in the future is quite different from the idea of the robotic age as antagonistic and a threat to humankind.

Perhaps the reason these latter productions represented a positive light on robotics is because they all gave human characteristics to the robots and, thus, made them more personable. Either way, the interpretation of robotics has surely been greatly varied in the film industry and throughout art in general.

As I mentioned earlier, despite the more recent outlook on robotics as benevolent in film, the old futurist idea of robot control is almost more acceptable and grounded in facts than ever before. The current day advances of robotics have resulted in some occupations, such as that of a secretary, to be taken by robots. True “industrialization” of robotics is happening as robotics begin to pervade, and perhaps invade, human existence.

With robots literally “living” among humans and interacting with them on an everyday basis, when have we ever been closer to the fearsome fantasies depicted in doomsday film?

All in all, I would say that robotics have played a serious role in the advancement of art and futuristic ideals. Many artists use this medium as a means to express humanistic ideas and fears. In the film industry, the interpretation of robots has been taken as both positive and negative. Currently, the idea that robots are a malevolent force taking control of humanity is still farfetched. However, as science advances with robots becoming more human and as humans continue to halt evolution, who knows what will happen? It is an interesting debate, as laid out here:

Week 3: Robotics and Pop Culture by selenni cisneros

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Robots have appeared in pop culture as early the 19th century, and still continue to appear in television, books, and movies today. The latest movie to showcase a robot has been the children classic of Wall E, a tale of a lonely robot whose job is to clean the Earth that humans themselves have trashed completely. Numerous amounts of movies have robotics, such as those mentioned in class like Metropolis, The Day After Tomorrow, the Matrix, etc. Not to mention there are numerous other amounts of movies, such as Robot Monster, Tobor the Great, Sleeper, Star Wars, The Terminator movies, Robocop, The Iron Giant, Bicentennial Man, even in the Austin Powers movies, Artificial Intelligence, Transformers, and Wall-E, just to name a select few. So what makes robots so popular? Could it be that each robot has so many limitless possibilities? Could it be that such advanced robots capture popular America’s eye because they are so new to us, to surreal? Whatever the reason, they surround us.

My suspicion for our human love of robots is the advanced technology they symbolize and seem to represent. Many people seem to believe that in the future, robots will rule the world, and then humans will no longer exist. The world will simply be ruled by robotics. As normal people, we are always wondering about the future. I believe that is because we are ruled by our curiosity. If we weren’t curious about the next day, or the following week, or the upcoming month or years, we wouldn’t care about the future, and we wouldn’t need to see what is to come, making the future meaningless. But, we are curious, because we do not know what the future holds, and anything that could be a possible insight or answer about the future, we are captivated by. That is a possible reason why we are so captured by robots.

When one imagines the word “robot,” a man-made creation, with a mind of its own, comes to thought. The stereotypical robot might even possibly resemble a human. Although there is yet to be a robot with a mind of its own in real life, they are often depicted in many theatrical movies, television, and literature. Perhaps that is also a reason why they are in pop culture. As long as they are a mystery, or a challenge yet to be created, people are interested. People are always interested in challenges, and in things they cannot obtain, or will have a true challenger obtaining. It’s just human nature.

Searching the internet, I found a website which rated the 50 best movie robots of all time. They rated the movies within four different categories: plausibility, coolness, dangerousness, and comedy value. From this list, I learned that people like robots when they cool, such as in the popular 2007 movie Tranformers. Robots are liked when they are dangerous as well. Also, on how likely they are to be actually built. I have attached the link to this blog.

The 50 best movie robots, link:

selenni cisneros

Week 3 - The E Generation by Jane Chen

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Human fascination with scientific innovation no doubt began very early in history.  Records of Copernicus’ and Galileo’s discoveries along with the genius of Leonardo da Vinci’s journals and inventions provided the basis for much scientific discoveries for centuries to come.  With the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century, the world rapidly shifted from a labor- and agricultural-based society into one of machines.  The development of the assembly line process by Henry Ford in the 19th century further mechanicized industry into much of what it is today. 

As the world stepped into the 21st century, mechanical reproduction of art began to take on a whole new meaning.  The improvements in technology have, in turn, led to the ability to reproduce virtually any piece of artwork down to the very last stroke, revolutionizing the definition of an “unique piece of art.”  According to Walter Benjamin, “the work of art reproduced becomes the work of art designed for reproducibility.”  Additionally, he defined the “aura” about a piece of artwork not as the originality of the work itself, but rather as its prized rarity, authenticity, and cultural value.  In this sense, even the appreciation of art has become mechanical, focusing instead on the monetary value and cultural significance of the piece rather than the innovation of that piece of work.  Benjamin further states that “mechanical reproduction emancipate the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual,” thus shattering the traditional views of “aura” on a work of art.

The advancements in technology have led to the propogation of scientific innovation in virtually every aspect of modern life today.  Beginning with the increasing popularity of the film and TV industry, tech-giants like Sony, Apple, and Samsung have sought to pocket the big screen for everyday viewing.  The result is the development of video-streaming-enabled phones, video ipods, as well as portable DVD players.  One interesting innovation the last couple of years is the introduction of the flexible OLED displays.  Using bioplastic technology, in which plastic is derivced from biomass sources like vegetable oil and corn starch, OLED technology can be used as sources of cheap, flexible lighting.  Below is a picture of a roll-to-roll manufactured OLEDs, developed like a newspaper printing-like process which enables OLEDs to be produced cheaply and made available for the masses as an energy-efficient and environment-friendly way to supply lighting, sensors, and displays.

In recent years, Sony has used OLED technology to develop flexible OLED displays, a thin, flexible, full-color display that is extremely portable.  This might further lead to the creation of a new line of TVs, allowing for thinner, lighter, and softer electronics.  In the recent Consumer Electrionics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Sony has displayed its work-in-progress of flexible OLED technology for use on computer screens and laptops, further increasing the portability of these items for everyday use. 

A demonstration of Sony’s flexible OLED displays can be seen here:


by Jane Chen