David Harris Smith and Frauke Zeller
my kulturBOT
November 2014

my kulturBOT is a robotic art critic, attending exhibitions and tweeting text-captioned photographs of the artworks, patrons, and venue. The robot explores art and exhibitions with an intentional randomness in terms of both its movements and its tweet content. Physically roaming the venue in a randomized pattern, my kulturBOT converts the words of F.T. Marinetti’s 1909 Futurist Manifesto into randomly generated sentences. These sentences become the captions for the images the robot is tweeting, conveying the passion of the original manifesto but lacking semantic logic.

JNAAG is very excited to have my kulturBOT as our resident robotic art critic for the month of November. Each week, my kulturBOT will be in a different exhibition space, capturing different images, and tweeting its thoughts.

my kulturBOT inherits a vague middle ground described by French philosopher Pierre Bourdieu as the ‘demarcation line between the world of technical objects and the world of aesthetic objects’.[1] Uncertainty arises when one thinks about what artistic intention really is. To Bourdieu, intentions themselves are a product of social norms and conventions, which change over time, historically reorienting the frontier between technical objects, and objects of art. With this uncertainty, we have to abandon the idea that there has to be one, determinate answer to the question: What is it (the art object) and what does it mean?

It will be interesting to consider if my kulturBOT itself is an object of art, or does the robots critical folly position it more as a technical object?

[1] Bourdieu, P. (1984). A social critique of the judgement of taste. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 29