The thought of robots is very much a reality in today’s technologically advanced world. Robotics have majorly impacted the consumer world, practically taking over industrialization, this takeover unfortunately has made the ‘makers hand’ in creating goods far less evident. The drastic advances in the assembly line due to the incorporation of robotics have also lead to the integration of robotics in contemporary art. Through radical advances in technology, robotic art has become evident in multiple contemporary gallery exhibitions such as ‘New Romantics’, featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Forming its own specific category ‘robotic art’ is described as “a type of art that makes use of robotics or machine and automated technology, coupled with computer technology and sensors…With the rise in electronic media and technology in art, robotics has become a popular medium of experimentation.”[1] Robotic art can be featured through sculpture, interactive forms, performance and instillation. Nam June Paik and Shuya Abe’s ‘Robot K-456’ (1964) is an early example of robotic art. The work involves a “20-channel remote-controlled anthropomorphic robot, which needed five people to make it move. Through a radio speaker in its mouth, it played a recording of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address and excreted beans.”5 One of the earliest robotic artworks, Paik incorporated many simple actions the robot could do such as raising and lowering arms, yet the works intentions as the artist writes “I imagined it would meet people in the street and give them a spit second surprise”[2] A more contemporary use of robotic art is seen through Australian artist Sterlarc who combined real human aspects and robotics by making himself into a somewhat cyborg by inserting synthetic mechanisms into his body. Including ‘Ear on Arm’ (2006-2013) which revealed a false ear implanted under the skin of the artist. Cleverly, the artist’s use of robotic art conveys his want to explore different human and robotic body modifications, conveying the human body’s capabilities. The artist writes “An extra ear is presently being constructed on my forearm: A left ear on a left arm. An ear that not only hears but also transmits. A facial feature has been replicated, relocated and will now be rewired for alternate capabilities.”[3] ‘Diamandini’ (2013) by Mari Velonaki is a kinetic robotic artwork which conveys a human sized women, well dressed, her arms facing outwards as if to ask a question. The work is a robotic statue, meaning the robots limbs do not move, yet it is able to move around a space remaining in the same position. Velonakis not only incorporates a robotic statue, yet the artist also wanted to gather information on how the visitors interacted with the robot. The work gives an insight into human interactions with robots and the emotional connection that can occur.



Image result for Nam June Paik and Shuya Abe’s ‘Robot K-456’ (1964)

Nam June Paik and Shuya Abe’s ‘Robot K-456’ (1964)


Image result for Stelarc ‘Ear on Arm’ (2006-2013)

Stelarc ‘Ear on Arm’ (2006-2013)



Image result for Mari Velonaki 'Diamantini’ (2013)

Mari Velonaki ‘Diamantini’ (2013)

[1] Radar, A. (2014, September 5). What is…robotic art? Art Radar explains. Retrieved from

[2] Unknown. Categorized art collection. Retrieved from

[3] STELARC. (2016). Stelarc // ear on arm. Retrieved from


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