August 28, 2004

The League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots

Sept 17 sees the start of the 3rd Annual ArtBots Robot Talent Show, a three day festival in Harlem, NY devoted to mechanical marvels that "sketch, carve, float, wiggle, hum, ring, grow, wander, and sing, as well as a number of works the form and function of which are not yet well understood".
Among this year's participants will be the winners of last year's Audience Choice award, the amazing League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots. As the name suggests, the League is a Brooklyn-based group of artists and technologists who have been developing robotic musical instruments for the past four years. Their creations include TibetBot, a set of mechanically struck Tibetan singing bowls; !rBot, a mollusc-shaped contraption filled with Peruvian goathoof maracas; ForestBot, a thicket of egg-rattles on quivering ten-foot metal stalks; and (my favourite) GuitarBot, which consists of four long guitar strings strung over independent sliding bridges and played by plectrums mounted on rotating shafts. As a result of its design, the GuitarBot can produce wonderfully expressive slides and bursts of unhumanly rapid plucking. If you want to hear it in action, check out the mp3 of the post-rock-esque "Emergency Bot Theme" on the LEMUR site. The site also has videos of all the League's robots performing solo, and one of a duet between GuitarBot and violinist Mari Kimura.

Posted by Warren at August 28, 2004 04:51 PM | Robot Music