Dude, Where’s My Robot?

27 Apr

Dude, Where's My Robot I (Phone)

I’ve just finished attending Swancon 36 (aka Natcon 50, aka WA’s  Premier Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention).  It was a fabulous convention – lots of friends were there and the Hyatt is rather fancy.  However, one of the biggest highlights for me was showing a couple of pieces in the Natcon 50 art show, ʻFuture Imperfect: Exploring the Future from the Pastʼ.  This was an invitation only event, with the brief to explore the way people have historically imagined our present, bringing the past and the future together in new and interesting ways.

I spent a lot of time pondering what this meant to me, but in the end I just couldn’t stop wondering ‘Why don’t we have robots yet?’  We were promised robots (heck,  we were promised jet packs and flying cars too!), but in reality very few robots exist of the type portrayed in SF literature and media. But we still have heaps of mechanical (electrical?) devices  and, while they might not do the vacuuming*, iPods, mobile phones, and computers are becoming almost indispensable in today’s society.  So I decided to  juxtapose the robots we though we might have,  with the robots we actually have.

Dude, Where's My Robot II (MP3 Player)

To make the prints, I resorted to my old robot love, Illustrator, but tried to go with a retro and slightly steam punky feel. I got them printed on canvas, as I thought that would suit the style and all together they worked out really well. I sold one of my prints! I got some lovely comments ( as well as a copy of long running print based ‘zine from one of the older Natcon attendees – so sweet!)

I also chaired two panels about the art Show, one on technique and one on theme and it was great to hear what the other artists had to say about their technique and how they’d approached the brief.  Everyone’s work was very different and there was some fantastic use of different techniques and themes,  including literature (Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep and replication),  war propaganda, as well as some true computer generated 3D art (produced using program code as the interface!)

Dude,  Where's My Robot


*Actually the Roomba will do your vacuuming for you.


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