Bruce Sterling on Sun, 6 Sep 1998 21:26:44 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> Contestational Robotics

Wow!  "Contestational Robotics!"  That's the best Critical Art Ensemble
rant I've ever seen!  It contains schematics and pseudocode!  It almost
looks like a practical idea! 

A remote-controlled, disposable, sidewalk dot-matrix stenciller....  I
don't want to build one -- I could cut off my thumb slicing a bagel -- but
I want to own one real bad!  I'd be willing to pay no-kidding, American
deep capitalist dollars for a gizmo like that!  It has commodity fetish
appeal! It would jump off the shelves at Computer City and Radio Shack. 

    I have most any number of uses for a Contestational Robot.  I'm
thinking soluble, noncriminal watercolors (thanks to the Greenhouse
Effect, it never rains here any more anyway) so I can send the unit out at
2AM to trundle down the street emitting multicolored ASCII art.  Even
groovier to have it *rappel down the side of an urban highrise,* covering
its obnoxious International Style semiotics with a glorious vertical

	Humankind needs more liberatory ideas like this.  I salute the
Critical Art Ensemble.  I wait with bated breath for more of the same.  We
direly need a central repository of cool, life-enhancing garage projects
of just this ilk. We need to encourage the creation, maintenance and
circulation of off-the-wall street technology.  We need hard-wired
linkages between the cyberspatial/theoretical and the dispiriting physical
world of heat waves and stripmalls.  We could do this.  It's possible.  In
fact, it demands to be done.  Where's Mark Pauline when we need him? 

Bruce Sterling

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