Rising Colorspace is an abstract art installation. But instead of being painted by a tortured Pollock wannabe, it’s made entirely by a finely tuned robot.
The installation, created by Michael Haas and Julian Adenauer, can be found at Metropol-Park in Berlin. It’s the third site-specific robot-powered art piece developed by the pair. Every day, the bot cycles through eight specially formulated colors with a bit of help from a human apprentice. The result is an artwork that’s constantly overwriting itself, creating images that look like swaying fields of fluorescent grass, a synthetic Cy Twombly painting, or an analog screensaver. The work is never complete. “Any momentary state is the manifestation of its systemic rules,” Haas says. “The process of creation is ideally endless.”
Visitors have likened the duo’s installations to watching birds peck around a garden. Haas says this is a perfect encapsulation of what they’re trying to achieve. “We found out that many of our works contain a surprise for the spectators which leads to a calming effect,” he says. “We ask ourselves how to touch people in a gentle way.”
Despite the bucolic vision and arty goals, the production is entirely predicated on algorithms and actuators. The robot, dubbed a “Vertwalker,” looks like a squashed Roomba and climbs gallery walls using suction created by a small vacuum. Its Arduino-based hardware is controlled by “color protocol” software that instructs the robot to draw parabolic, bow-like lines using a graffiti paint pen.
Silicone tires were specially molded to reduce weight while providing a perfect level of friction. The vacuum lip that creates suction is a carefully constructed, laser cut, polyamide-infused textile. Software has been progressively refined to help the Vertwalker make smooth transitions rather than jerky jumbles of lines.