Robotic Painters Turn Internet Noise into Fine Art


Earlier this summer, we rounded up three projects that epitomize the evolution of digital art. Now on view at the Taubman Museum outside of DC is an interactive media piece that aggregates online data into mechanized paintings. The Big Brother-type media installation by Alberto Gaitán, called “The Remembrancer,” is an ephemeral experience as the three networked, robotic painters deposit paint onto panels six hours a day; two weeks before the exhibition’s end the machines will be disassembled and only the canvases put on display. No video or sound recording will be made of The Remembrancer, highlighting its ultimate meaning of loss in an age of information. Explanation from the artist Alberto Gaitán, plus an exclusive time-lapse video of the artwork after the jump.

Elaborating on the theme of loss, Gaitán says, “Nobody has the capacity for total information awareness so we relinquish big chunks of our understanding to black boxes of knowledge whose provenance we don’t fully understand. We make important decisions and base stacks of assumptions on these. Our memories are rife with inaccuracies, and forgetting or ignoring becomes a significant aspect of remembering.” An interesting concept in a time where both facts and inadequacies can spread like wildfire on the Internet — or be edited and erased from collective memory.

Phil Norman, Director of Marketing at the Taubman Museum, put together this time lapse video of “The Remembrancer” in action:

For those interested in witnessing a firsthand physical representation of the malleability of memory, and how recorded history is affected by misinformation, skip over to the Taubman Museum before mid-October. The painted canvases — displaying an accretion of overlapping monochrome fields of color controlled by a computer program that interprets incoming online data — will be on display through November 1, 2009.