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Vehicles #1-3: Autonomous Furniture

Vehicles #1-3: Autonomous Furniture, 2008-2012

Stemming from an interest in kinetics and desire to create furniture that challenges the assumptions of the user, I created a series of furniture objects imbued with varying degrees of autonomy. These works change the way the viewer experiences not just the objects but the environments in which they reside.


Vehicle #1: Petri Table (for Valentino Braitenberg), 2008

Vehicle #1: Petri Table (for Valentino Braitenberg) is comprised of a coffee table that houses ten small solar-powered machines, which twitch about when exposed to sunlight. The work was greatly inspired by Valentino Braitenberg and his series of thought experiments outlining his theory of synthetic psychology. This table is inspired by the first of his vehicle based thought experiments. The little robots within the table move when exposed to sun, and stop when in the shade. Braitenberg's theory of synthetic psychology suggests that we humans will project psychological states onto these simple machines. They will seem to like the shade, or perhaps be excited by the sun. Personally, I like that they will collect under books or plates placed on the table. Like bugs under a rock. See, there I go.

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Vehicle #2: Solar Stool (for Philip K Dick), 2009

The stools that comprise Vehicle #2: Solar Stool (for Philip K Dick) can be seen as grown up versions of the small machines that inhabit Vehicle #1. While those machines roamed within the confines of the small table, these stools are allowed to roam free in whatever space they are placed. When sat upon the user literally cuts off the supply of energy to the motor which moves the stools. When the user releases the stool from service, light again strikes the panel, the stool tips slightly to one side or another and then scoots along the floor.


Vehicle #3: Heliotropic Benches (for Beagle II), 2010-2012

Vehicle #3: Heliotropic Benches (for Beagle II) is a set of five carbon fiber benches, which motivate themselves towards bright spots in a given space and takes the investigation started with Vehicle #1 to its il/logical conclusion. These more-than-fully functional benches exert their autonomy, problematizing the assumed relationship of the user to the object. They rove around until their is sufficient light on their solar panels, then stop and charge their batteries. If moved into the shade to be sat upon, they spring back to life and move back into the sunlight when relieved of service.