Zoot Magazine

  | Jan 06, 2011

LEONEL MOURA ´s studio / exhibition space / worklab “Robot Art Gallery” [Robotarium] is located in the brickbuilding at Lx Factory. Many of you might have passed by and were wondering if the robots you can see from outside are real or scuptures- well they are real and very impressive.

Between 7th and 9th January Leonel Moura is presenting his work at the biggest Asian fair for technology, the TECHFEST in Mumbai.

It includes participants of hundreds of technology companies from  all over the world. The exhibit area, where Leonard Moura is also presenting his artrobot ISU, is giving this year particular attention to house robots (to keep you company), entertainment robots and investigation robots.  It also includes the replicas of two machines built by Leonardo Da Vinci. TECHFEST is presenting an impressive list of initiaves, games, competitions, workshops, animation movies and presentations of lots of new products this year. In the conference area you can listen amongst others to Sir Harold Kroto, Chemistry Nobel Prize Winner 1996;  Michael Jones, Google Founder;  K.S.Pua, inventor of the Pen-drive and  Holger Nielsen creator of the Cords Theory.


ISU is an artrobot able to create its own paintings and write small poems and has also the ability to sign its works.

Named after Isidore Isou the creator, back in the 50’s, of the French movement known as the Letrisme, ISU is able to draw letters and words and from there generate pictorial compositions. Like in lettrism, which campaign for the use of the letter as the basis of a new art form, ISU generates by itself a series of letters and words that may or may not trigger on the viewer meaning.

The process by which ISU decides the use of a letter or builds a word lays on a complex dynamics between a positive feedback mechanism and a random mode.When painting, the robot starts the procedure in a random mode and evolves to a positive feedback mode. In this fashion it tends to generate color clusters. When writing, the robot chooses a first letter randomly and then adds another viable letter that makes sense. The final poem is similar to surrealist automatism or concrete poetry.
ISU, and other artbots of the kind, challenge our concept of art and of creativity. In fact such robots suggest the possibility to generate an artificial creativity in the sequel of the now well accepted artificial intelligence.

ISU its mechanistic production triggers the viewer’s mind in the same way as any human representation. Having for source a human silhouette ISU tries to fill the contours. Its perception and action are solely local, as ISU does not have the ability to capture the whole image. The result is a fuzzy and gestaltian shape made of hundreds of small scribbles.

P.S.: Leonel Moura also designed the extremely nice and colourful Portable gardens which combine a portable bench and a tree, to be seen in front of Lisbon´s  main ferry terminal close to Praça Comercio!

Robot Art Gallery [Robotarium]
Rua Rodrigues Faria, 103, H.02
1300-501 Lisboa
T: +351 213625286


By Paulo Meixedo

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