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Prix 1987 - 2007

Ars Electronica Linz & ORF Oberösterreich

The Robotic Chair
Raffaello D'Andrea, Max Dean , Matt Donovan

The Robotic Chair is an apparently practical and generic wooden chair with the unique capacity to fall apart and put itself back together. This chair has the familiar form of those used to furnish schoolrooms. Yet it is not like any other chair. It is a chair with an obsession: it is perpetually falling apart and getting back together. Behind the chair´s veneer of wood is a custom robot designed to locate its other chair components and reassemble itself. For no apparent reason the chair will fall apart and crash to the floor. It then transforms into a robot and begins to step off any parts it may have fallen on top of. Once clear, the robot is able to drive about the floor in search of its parts. The chair sees through an external camera and is able to locate its legs and back. Once located it docks with its parts and secures them in place. When all the components are attached the chair stands up and the cycle begins again.

The Robotic Chair’s obsession with falling apart and putting itself back together is an insistence of its constancy, its coherence, its identity, and its trust-worthiness, in a word, its object-hood. As a work of art, The Robotic Chair expands the sense of real space and real time in which objects are experienced. It reconciles technology and art before the viewers’ eyes.