Artist Chico MacMurtrie threw open the doors to his mysterious “Robotic Church” in Red Hook over the weekend, welcoming a handful of robot devotees into his sacred studio space, where machines perform glorious machine music for the edification of their mortal worshipers. MacMurtrie spent almost two decades (between 1987 and 2006) building his 35 kinetic robot sculptures, and on rare occasions he invites spectators to see his menagerie in action. It all takes place inside a 19th-century Norwegian Seaman’s Church on Pioneer Street which doubles as a robot-sculpture collective workshop.
“The Robotic Church is an ode to the power of the architecture of the church,” MacMurtrie writes in his artist’s statement. “It is a parallel with what we are really familiar with and what we are getting far away from. We are getting further and further away from human contact and we are more interested in our contact with machines.”