A Modern Day Love Story — A Painter’s Brush Meets a Robot to Create a Passionate Portrait
How do you say “‘I love you” in these crazy modern times? How do you pay homage to what inspires your passion?
Artists have been reflecting on this sentiment for centuries. They sculpt and paint to tell the tale of how mankind feels the timeless emotion of love. And, now that our existence is evolving into soaring new heights, what could possibly be next? How about expressing a love for the world through a robot?
As the years go by we find ourselves more frequently as a human race interacting with technology. AI is all around us. It is the next big thing that we are coming to love. No one knows this better than artist Agnieszka Pilat.
Born in Poland, she moved to America and completed her first residency in 2017 at Wrightspeed. Pilat’s artwork with Silicon Valley tech companies and executives provides a humanizing vision for future technologies. Her heroic portraits of technology appropriate the tradition of royal portraiture to evoke the power that machines command in human society today.
Her lastest endeavor is taking her to the next level. Joining forces at Boston Dynamics, she is now in the midst of an epic project dealing with a unique apprentice.
“I get to go to some pretty awesome places because I am a technology romantic and a machine lover. And I have a love affair with machines — this is as good as it gets,” states the artist about what is being documented as one of the first human artistic projects with technology in this capacity.
Her current work is ‘teaching’ SPOT the robot to paint alongside her as she finishes large-scale portraits in a studio at Boston Dynamics. The mobile robot is designed for sensing, inspection, and remote operation. Famously known for transformative mobility, the agile machine is capable of navigating terrain with unprecedented mobility. When first shown it walked up stairs to the delight of the world. The planet watched it automate routine inspection tasks that were executed and data captured safely, accurately, and frequently. Now the next task is creating fantastic art with Pilat.
“He deserves to be immortalized in a painting and be a part of art history,” she says about her partner at her artist-in-residence. “This is one of the coolest experiences of my career.”
She has lovingly nicknamed SPOT after famed French-American painter and sculptor, Marcel Duchamp. Together the dynamic duo work side by side in the Massachusetts based lab in harmony. It is serious experimentation, but also fun. With childlike curiosity and wonder she expresses her art with the system.
“You can say you are teaching, like overseeing children in a classroom,” she says about interacting with the robot. “Like kids playing, they want to mimic what you are doing. They are learning and playing as they copy the action. It is the same thing with SPOT as we work together.”
The experiment is like being on a giant playground full of games — full of possibilities. It’s a perfect format for someone like Pilat, who has always successfully experimented with technology and art blending together. Examples of Pilat’s work that strikes these phenomenal impressions includes “Apollo” (from Steve Jurvetson collection: the CO2 air scrubber that famously saved the lives of Apollo 13 astronauts); “Lady in Blue” (from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory: quadrupole magnets used to focus the electron beam in particle accelerators); “Amazing Grace” (Univac’s Mercury Delay Line Memory from The Computer History Museum) and “Planet Bear” (Waymo lidar technology, painting in Yuri Milner’s private collection).
The painter was also a coveted guest speaker at the 2018 Women of X conference. Her art can be found in public and private collections in United States, South America, China and Europe.
With this amazing accomplishment taking place it is going to be wonderful to see what will be next for SPOT and Pilat. This is a dynamic duo building the future of art — the future of our world.