It happened again, well almost. I’ve had the aluminium vase on the right for a few weeks and yesterday I was excited to find another which I thought was exactly the same. Joy turned to disappointment when I got home and discovered the new one was fatter and slightly taller than the old one. But do Robomofos need to be perfectly symmetrical? One of my favourite robot artists is Martin Horsepool from New Zealand and his creations are not symmetrical at all; hmmm. Also I found these aluminium curtain pole ends. I think they look like the wind-up keys on clockwork toys which could be a fun idea.
I found a nicely-shaped bedside lamp base in the skip a few months ago but so far I have not found a use for it. Today I found another one! It’s difficult to express just how excited I am about this. You see any object can be used for robot bodies and heads but for arms, legs, hands and feet I need to find matching pairs of things. Most junk isn’t thrown away in pairs but all I can assume is that this lamp was in fashion a few years ago, was sold in some quantity, and is now going out of fashion so people are replacing them. Now I have two of them, I can use them as calves or muscular-looking forearms, which is something their bulbous shape will be perfect for. Watch out for them in my next robot.
Thank you very, very, much to all who entered my Facebook competition and by doing so helped me to promote this website. But in the end there can be only one winner. If you can bare the suspense, the result is revealed in the video below.
Here’s another good-news Ukrainian giant robot story: “Robots made by local enthusiasts and employees of an automobile repair workshop are seen during installation works on the outskirts of Donetsk. According to creators, who plan to open a robotics engineering park, the 13-metre and 6-metre-high sculptures were made of waste metal including car components and weigh about 4 and 2 tonnes respectively.”
But look how the Sun reported it!
In a previous post I wrote about how people interact differently with my human-scale robots compared to my table-top sculptures. But a giant monumental-scale robot sculpture creates an altogether different impression as it is viewed architecturally as part of the landscape. There are actually quite a few giant-sized robot sculptures around the world and all are impressive by virtue of the ambition of their makers and the logistical challenges their construction would have presented but, for me, the best one by far is the Iron Man in Port Yuzhny, Ukraine, created by Alexander Milov and his team for Trans Invest Services. What stands out is the simplicity of the design; built entirely from scrap vehicles and machinery which the company had lying around. The head is the cab of a truck, turned upside down so the windscreen becomes the mouth and the head lights become the eyes, the feet are giant hoppers, but it’s always the robot you see first despite how recognisable and unaltered the component parts remain. This is the effect I always strive to achieve.
In 1996, advertising creatives Richard Flintham and Andy McLeod discovered that one of them loved Marmite and the other hated it. Their polarised opinions became the basis of the “Love it or hate it” campaign, which is now so well known that the term “Marmite” has come to describe, in general usage, anything that people either love or hate.
Previously, my creative efforts have tended to have a “marmite” effect which is something I secretly enjoyed because I was able to convince myself that my work was a bit esoteric or a bit edgy and only appreciated by the more sophisticated or discerning. In contrast my robomofos have been met with universal approval. Not everyone wants to buy one but men, women, and children alike all seem to love them. This is of course very nice as we all thrive on affirmation and praise but it’s not something I’m used to and therefore just a little bit unnerving.
Until, that is, the other day when one of my customers showed his robomofo to his father (after whom the robot had been named) and received an altogether different response. He simply didn’t get it. He could not see how the object had any value at all and was mystified as to why anyone would pay upwards of £300 for a collection of junk. My customer, confident that I would not be upset or offended, recounted this tale with glee which I found both exciting and strangely reassuring. What psycological forces were at work I would not like to say but it would seem that for me the idea of being both loved and hated is more appealing than just being loved. Flintham and McLeod must have been onto something as this was the basis of of one of the most successful slogans in the history of advertising.
The other day a woman who had seen my robots told me that they appealed to her because she was an Afro-futurist. I didn’t even know what that meant so I Googled it. Very cool and interesting.
The Covid pandemic has affected all of our lives in many different ways. For students finishing university it has meant getting their names read out on a Youtube video in place of a proper graduation ceremony. We wanted to make sure our daughter didn’t miss out on this important milestone so we enlisted the help of some robomofos to take the place of her university’s dignitaries and present her with her well-earned degree.
I usually make my robomofos tabletop sized because most of my customers don’t have the space to display anything bigger. But I do like to make bigger ones and I enjoy how the scale affects the way people interact with them. So I’m delighted to have just sold a big, human-scale robomofo to a party venue in the West Country. His job is to stand in front of the record decks and use his robo-powers to get people up and dancing.
I decided on the name Robomofos for two reasons: Because the dot com domain name was available and I thought it was funny. Only afterwards did I decide mofo could stand for Made Of Found Objects. But I’m not the only person to come up with that name. Jonathan Berengut builds tiny nano robots, 2,000 times smaller than a human hair, out of synthetic dna and programmes them to link together like Lego bricks to form larger structures. They are called Bio-Nano-Robo-Mofos, But for him mofo stands for Modular Formation. Very cool and interesting.