Flingbot, a robot that hurls paint at canvases

Originally published at: Flingbot, a robot that hurls paint at canvases | Boing Boing

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Neat, but Simone Giertz’s is both cheaper and stupider!

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This is where people get… confused. This isn’t exceeding their ability to paint. There is a history, and a place, for truly automatic and truly random art like the Flingbot produces. But Pollock, and others who paint in the same vein, were/are not Flingbots just mindlessly throwing the paint down without intention.

If this engineering student applied themselves to the same method–dripping and throwing paint at the canvas–they would (1) probably produce something at least as visually interesting as their bot, and (2) it might even be “better”, if they allowed themselves to take their work semi-seriously and made some conscious decisions, evaluating the painting as it developed over time.

Edit: “Better” requires quotation marks here.

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As an artist/curator/gallerist, I can “get” the idea of autonomous art, but am still drawn
to images created by sentient beings, no matter how “abstract”~

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This will put the fear of paint into you.

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I don’t believe Pollock flung paint much at all. His main method involved inserting a stick into a paint can or a jar so he could pour or drip in very controlled fashion. Any amount of spattering was done by fanning the bristles of a loaded brush with the fingers. And he would both apply paint directly, and manipulate the poured paint with brushes and pallet knives.

If you look at his paintings there isn’t much in the way of large, splashed areas of paint.

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And then other robots gather, study it, and make cognitive sounds.

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Exactly, and most people have no idea that there was care involved in the process, which leads them to building a Flingbot and assuming that it’s no different, just a machine doing what a person did.

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I don’t want to know what comes next… :grimacing:

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I had an art teacher in Junior Highschool who would often assign students to mimic a Pollack painting. With zero instruction on how to do so. Set you up in a hallway or disused wood shop with a pile of art shit and a canvas over a tarp.

Once you start throwing paint around like the popular assumption you figure out it doesn’t work real quick. Like as practical concern. Shit goes on too thick, causing things to warp, crack and flake off. The end result tends to be just muddy. Everything getting all mixed up and gross.

Fucking that up 5 or 6 times before I earned a passing grade for the project was a pretty great way to disabuse myself of the myth. Probably taught me more about painting than any of the other art classes I took, cause I’m shit at that end of visual art.

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Yeah, paint and I have never gotten along very well. It’s so volatile and unforgiving, and just wants to become mud. Ink was my first medium and now I live mostly digitally, where the paint is just light.

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I’ve just never had a knack for drawing, painting or the like. I was surprisingly good with sculpture and clay, if that very same teacher had had any personal interest in that I might have actually learned a bunch about it.

But otherwise photography and videography was more where I landed, ended up going to film school. And you couldn’t pursue those things through the art curriculum at my high school. It was a metal shop teacher who pressed them to build out a video unit as part of the computer curriculum.

She wasn’t a particularly good art teacher, and I assumed for a long time that assignment was to occupy the less experienced students while she focused on the artsy kids. In hind sight it was a pretty good exercise for some one who didn’t really have the interest in what she was equipped to teach.

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A robot that flings paint, eh?

I have an 18-month-old grandchild who does that just as well.

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I for one welcome our Automatic NFT making Overlords.

:art::robot::heart:

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Constrained randomness can make beautiful art without any actual intelligence or sensitivity. But it needs to be curated. But so does human art.

Constrained randomness is what makes butterfly wings.

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They were, like, commenting, and they used the words “chance operations” — which was no bother to me because I was hearing it regularly from John Cage — and the power and the wonder of it and so forth. This really angered Pollock very deeply and he said, “Don’t give me any of your ‘chance operations.’” He said, “You see that doorknob?” and there was a doorknob about fifty feet from where he was sitting that was, in fact, the door that everyone was going to have to exit. Drunk as he was, he just with one swirl of his brush picked up a glob of paint, hurled it, and hit that doorknob smack-on with very little paint over the edges. And then he said, “And that’s the way out.” - Stan Brakhage

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I can see this being used for large corporate campuses or hotel chains. Original artwork in every room, made cheaply, with colors approved by marketing and without any pesky human artists that might hide dicks in the paintings.

I hate it.

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This will only end badly…

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It’s just spin art, only instead of controlling the canvas, the machine is controlling the paint.