Patrick Lichty


Zen for Bot is a series I created with a series of robot "assistants" where I continually corral them, replenish their ink, play with their barriers, and so on to create a kind of human/robot "action Painting" after Jackson Pollack.  The name also comes from a seminal Nam June Paik piece where he dragged his head like a giant calligraphy brush after dipping it in ink.  From the title, the robot is now in Paik's place, dragging its head while I chase it.


Each robot (only one for the series shown, 3 for the performative RGB, created at Antena Gallery in 2011 in Chicago) has a set of basic behaviors in regards to how it responds to its general environment. As it traverses the canvas, it lays down patterns in relation to the lightness of the surface, barriers around it, and ambient light, giving it a balance between determined behavior and chance operation. However, as it operates, pens must be bled, barriers are moved, patterns change through interaction, and the result is an intricate dance between artist/operator and robot assistant/tool.


For the Man/Machine Interface: Pattern Recognition series, I picked out elements of interest and re-inscribe them with Chinese red ink, making explicit the partnership between artist and tool.


One interesting point is that for MMI: Grand Mal, the robot only partially operated for half of the 10'x21' piece, and completed the piece nearly four hours later in a sad, crawling, burnt out mass of components.