CultureRobot is an artwork that has as much focus on the process of creation as it has on the final representation with interactive and participative action/installation. CR process starts with workshops that are open to everyone who wants to participate in collaborative mapping, examining, wondering, experiencing, researching and trying to understand cities, parks, beck- alleys, countries, borders, cultures, people… CR is open to any way of tracing and tracking that might be involved, from most simple drawing to complicated graph representing social interconnections. CR is social act of establishing an understanding.
Workshops and participative map making with visual and sound material gathering that will be used as information in given map is truly collaborative experience, where wide range of techniques (drawing, photography, video, language, topography, etc) can be explored in participative effort. During workshops teacher to student relation is substituted to multitude principle of collaborative sharing and learning about insights and personal narratives that are discussed and researched. To leave simple naming of the places on a flat, two dimensional map and engage examining relation in the maps is what CR is all about.
Dwellers and wanderers are represented in final installation by simple robots that move arbitrarily. Visitors can direct their movements by making obstacles in front of them in the same way someone creates obstacles (or makes paths) to our own movement, giving us a chance, or blocking us to see and experience more. At the same time, producing robots has the same purpose as map production: everyone can learn simplicity of mapping circuits and recycling material to produce a map traveler – everyone can learn simple usage of electronics by opening parts and looking inside closed “borders” of packaged electronic goods.
The whole process, from mapping, robot creation, video, pictures and drawing gathering is documented. Process also has an open end: installation is never finished and can always be modified/customized to event or space where it takes part. An open end (opportunity to build upon) and open source (opportunity to modify) are making CR a public good that any given community can use to produce their own way of seeing, tracing or tracking, establishing an understanding.
Maps do not only represented borders of one’s country with neighboring ones, but also invisible borders, geopolitical, cultural and society borders that exist inside the country, between countries or in any given community. Maps in strict sense make symbolic relationships between elements of a space, but have also been tools for localizing and displaying links and hypothesis, and not only those relating to spatial topography. Defining and mapping open spaces would need participation in recreating existing maps, in overlaying different maps over each other in order to show not so obvious relationships. “Mapping, the process of making a map or superimposing two different areas, and navigation, exploring a space (a stretch of road) are two complementary «art of action» modes.” (Michel de Certeau).
“Lay down a map of the land; over that, set a map of political change; over that, a map of the Net, especially the counter-Net with its emphasis on clandestine information-flow and logistics–and finally, over all, the 1:1 map of the creative imagination, aesthetics, values. The resultant grid comes to life, animated by unexpected eddies and surges of energy, coagulations of light, secret tunnels, surprises.” (Hakim Bey)