Week 3/ Industrial Age, Kinetic Art, Robotics/ Erum Farooque

Robots and art are quite different things. This class constantly joins together two completely different ideas that normally one would not even think of at the same time, let alone together. I never saw the relation and I still don’t see how they would be connected in any way. So I looked up the definition of robotic art and found this article. http://www.ekac.org/roboticart.htmlIt gives a thorough description of what robotic art is and how it developed and came to be. However, it was much too long so I did not read it and instead read robotic art’s definition on Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robotic_art

I found out that robots were used in early theater and played actual parts in plays. The great artist, inventor and scientist who is the perfect personification of art and science mixed together and working together in harmony, Leonardo Da Vinci, even built many robots for theatrical plays, including a lion that threw flowers and a soldier. More so, automatic chess players, artists and other robots were built all the time during the 19th and 18thcenturies. Early Chinese built mechanical toys, a mechanical orchestra, and many other contraptions that were remarkable for their time incorporating their scientific robots into art, cinema and their culture. Here is a quote from Wikipedia about the marvelous adventures into the roboting world in ancient times: 

In the 13th century A.D. Badi Al-Zaman’Isma’il Al-Razzaz Al-Jazari was a Muslim inventorwho devoted himself to mechanical engineering. Like Hero, [from ancient Rome] he experimented with water clock and other hydraulic mechanisms. Al-Jaziri’s life’s work culminated in a book which he called “The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices,” completed in 1206 AD. This book is often known simply as “Automata.” In Europe in the 13th century Villard de Honnecourt is known to have built mechanical angels for the French court, and in the 15th century Johannes Muller built both a working mechanical Eagle and a Fly.

Examples of robots in the arts include, but are not limited to, literature, stories and cinema. Frankenstein by Mary Shelly is an example of artificial intelligence in the form of a robot manifesting itself in the real world. The Wizard of Oz is also robotics in performance art.

Walter Benjamin’s article, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” talks about how works of art are reproduced in more modern and conventional ways as more advanced mediums are created and become more readily available. Writing beautiful manuscripts by hand was replacing by typewriters and then by the computer to produce almost as equally beautiful writings. Photography, cameras, and movies also outdated painting. As we develop more technology, old traditional ways to produce art becomes old and thrown out and much less used, but is always still there due to the fact that one usually does not appreciate the mechanically reproduced work of art as one cares for the value of one hand made. Original and traditional stuff always carries much more value than a new modern reprinting of it. For example, a letter written out in ink and physically mailed to a significant other is more meaningful than an email sent. Usually one is more excited for the former, because that is not a common practice anymore. Paintings are also much more valuable than photographs. Sure photographs are faster, clearer, and capture the memory much more vividly and clear, but what would you show off more: a picture you took of your backyard or a painting someone did of you. A reproduction of art determines its lesser value than the original also because of its lack of uniqueness and rarity. One can’t ever perfectly reproduce the original.

This youtube video captures the work and care an artist has to put into a painting versus the ease of taking a photograph, thus proving the painting’s value. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEvmhbwB5do

Look at the difference between the painting and the photograph. Which is cooler to have?:



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