Robots and Art pp 229-254
Still and Useless: The Ultimate Automaton
Robots descend from the long genealogy of automata, machines with no practical purposes essentially meant to simulate objects embedded with an anima. Our hypothesis is that the thrust for the creation of every robot is rooted in the primordial myth of infusing inanimate matter with the breath of life: the aim of any automaton is to become a living thing. The ultimate automaton does not need to move or to do anything: the essence of any robot lies in the desire to simulate life to the point where it actually becomes alive. This chapter presents the Aerostabile research-creation program, which progressively evolved from an architectural origin to a research platform for exploring the nature of the elements that maximizes this deliberately created illusion. It goes through the origins and main methodologies of the program, then describes several artworks that were created along its evolution, focusing on the notion of behaviour and observed interactivity.