agnieszka pilat taps boston dynamics’ robot dogs to paint autonomously at NGV triennial

agnieszka pilat taps boston dynamics’ robot dogs to paint autonomously at NGV triennial

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Robot dogs painting in public at NGV Triennial

 

At the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Triennial, machine artist Agnieszka Pilat employs Boston Dynamics’ robot dogs to paint and live on their own in front of the public until April 7th, 2024. It’s not the first time that the Polish artist and writer collaborates with the Boston Dynamics’ robot dogs.

 

She worked with Spot and Digit during the exhibition ROBOTa to produce 11 acrylic paintings, which were showcased at San Francisco’s Modernism Gallery until December 21st, 2022. When designboom spoke with Agnieszka Pilat, she revealed that sometimes the robot dogs do unpredictable actions.

agnieszka pilat boston dynamics robot NGV triennial
Installation view of Agnieszka Pilat’s work Heterobota on display as part of NGV Triennial from December 3rd, 2023 to April 7th, 2024 at NGV International, Melbourne | images courtesy of NGV | photos by Sean Fennessy

 

 

‘That’s the moment I call ‘ghost in the machine,’ and that is the exciting, spontaneous feeling that there is another mind entering and messing up your plan,’ Agnieszka Pilat tells designboom. She sees their spontaneity not as a technological defect or limitation but as an asset since it is this rudeness that makes the works making up ROBOTa stand out on their own. ‘I think my creativity is being enhanced by the robot because the limitations force me to think beyond things like imitating nature,’ she explains to designboom.

 

Agnieszka Pilat continues to explore the relations between humans and machines in her installation named Heterobota at NGV Triennial, a notion of symbiotic reciprocity between living and non-living beings. She takes on Boston Dynamics’ Bunny Spot, Basia Spot, and Omuzana Spot robot dogs, and here, visitors can see them paint, play, and discover their white-walled surroundings independently. The visitors are invited into the home of the four-legged robots to observe and interact with them as they go about their daily routines, including resting, playing, and painting in their tailored studio.

agnieszka pilat boston dynamics robot NGV triennial
Agnieszka Pilat has worked with Boston Dynamics’ robot dogs before | read more about it here

 

 

Agnieszka Pilat takes residency at Boston Dynamics

 

Agnieszka Pilat’s Heterobota installation at NGV Triennial comes with a precedent. It could all point back to her residency at Boston Dynamics where she first dipped her toes in playing with art and technology, paving a path for her to meet and interact with the robot dogs.

 

‘Recently, I came to Boston Dynamics with the intention of painting a portrait of their robot Spot,’ Agnieszka Pilat tells designboom in our interview. ‘Then, the engineers said to me that instead, maybe I should use the robot to paint. When I started, the arm was still under development, and they insisted I play with it, and then the whole body of work of ROBOTa followed from that.’

agnieszka pilat boston dynamics robot NGV triennial
Boston Dynamics’ robot dog painting independely on the wall of NGV Triennial

 

 

From ROBOTa to Heterobota, Agnieszka Pilat looks into the give-and-take exchange that occurs between people and robots. Machines rely on people to build, program, and operate them, and in return, people might rely on machines to keep their daily lives and the growing technology-dependent society flowing smoothly. While these observations may seem obvious, Agnieszka Pilat wonders how people would feel if the robot dogs forming Heterobota at NGV Triennial and other machines start to show care for people if they start feeling feelings and becoming more like people in actions and movements.

 

‘Would we care more for them?’ is a key question the installation with Boston Dynamics is hoping to offer and answer. The artworks produced during Heterobota’s stint at NGV Triennial peek through machine-made paintings, a convergence of art and technology, and Agnieszka Pilat walks on the path of asking whether artificial intelligence and robotics could look back at these artworks as neolithic artifacts created by sentient robots. The public art installation is on view at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Triennial until April 7th, 2024.

agnieszka pilat boston dynamics robot NGV triennial
the three robot dogs live and paint on their own inside their studio and space at NGV Triennial

agnieszka pilat boston dynamics robot NGV triennial
visitors can watch them live and work from outside

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viewers at home can watch their live feed on NGV Triennial’s site

agnieszka pilat boston dynamics robot NGV triennial
the three robot dogs are named Bunny Spot, Basia Spot, and Omuzana Spot

agnieszka pilat boston dynamics robot NGV triennial
Agnieszka Pilat’s installation aims to explore the relationship between humans and machines

agnieszka pilat boston dynamics robot NGV triennial
Agnieszka Pilat looks into how people would feel if robot dogs and other machines started to show care for people

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Agnieszka Pilat’s Heterobota installation with Boston Dynamics’ robot dogs at NGV Triennial

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