Living Electronics was a project that grew out of an interest of mine to find out what gives a piece of electronics or a piece of animated art a sense of life. I initially approached the project like a science experiment. I gave myself a set number of parts and tools, then began building various different kinds of robots to see which ones expressed a sense of life and which attribute or collection of attributes brought about this liveliness. Could it be the way it looked, the way it moved, the way it sounded, the way it communicated, or possibly even, the way it sustained itself?
During the process of building, I found myself realizing some interesting new techniques and approaches towards electronics. There were times where instead of making distinctly different robot models I would focus on making countless numbers of robots with only slight variations. I would use the same parts for each yet try to come up with a different arrangement with each iteration. I quickly became fascinated by this idea of an electronic object containing the same internal components but with a very different external presence. Actually, I suppose its very fitting considering how computers and electronics in general are vary malleable in their shapes despite which pieces make them up. This realization had me now approaching the building process in a very different way. Instead of treating it like an assembly line, I was becoming so comfortable with the process and my tools that I was learning to be more artistic in a way very similar to how comfortable a painter is with his or her tools. The tools may not have been the same but the process felt very similar.
These new thoughts helped me realize what I called “The Robot Knitting Circle”. I figured my brain was too restricting to how creative I could get with my robots. So, I invited other people to join me to build robots. I created kits for everyone participating. Each kit shared the same components and included schematics for guidance. The results were anything but predictable. In fact, each disparate mind build a unique robot and collectively, all the robots together and working created a really beautiful array of color, shape, and sound that could easily uphold itself as a piece of art.