Bruce Sterling on Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:01:42 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> The Balkan soft robotics of the Venice Biennale 2017

*It violates my principles to annoy the Nettime list with science fiction, but this is a science-fictional intervention so 110% Nettime that thereâ??s something hysterical about it.

â?? bruces <>

The Beachcomber is tireless, colorful, unique, and a major local tourist attraction. Since I am the host and proprietor of the "Pirate Robot Travel Lounge" of Novi Kotor, itâ??s up to me to explain the robot phenomenon to you.
American touristsâ??(we get more than a few of those)â??are especially demanding. "Who built that crazy robot? Who owns the software? What's the business model?" And so on. But such nervous anxiety over petty matters, that's not how culture develops in this region.
First, the Beachcomber is not a rigid steel machine. He's soft. He's a big wet balloon with some telescoping canes inside, and about a thousand cheap little shiny sensors on his plastic skin, much like the sequins on a Carnivale costume. He's large and colorful and yet mostly empty space, like a windsurfer's parafoil or a beach-camper's pop-up tent.
He's powered entirely by wind energy, for we get plenty of wind on the mountainous coastline of Montenegro. So, he rambles wetly around the shore, as soft and sticky as a sea-cucumber. He picks up the floating debris of our submerging world.
The Beachcomber peers and sniffs with his sensors for any washed-up debris that seems to be out of place on his native beach. Whenever he sees it, he engulfs it, sea anemone style. Eventually, he's too heavy with his waterlogged booty to move much. Then he squelches over to the Novi Kotor's Pirate Robot Travel Lounge, amoeba style, and disgorges his treasure into the parking garageâ?¦.


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