“100 Years of Robot Art and Science in the Bay Area”

•November 9, 2015 • Leave a Comment

This will be an amazing one-of-a-kind only in San Francisco event. I will have two robots for the audience, fellow robotictsts and a premiere cast scholars to operate. Thanks Ken Goldberg and Kevin Kevin B. Chenhttp://deyoung.famsf.org/calendar/friday-nights-de-young-25

De Young show

If you’re in the Bay Area Friday night, 20 Nov, please join us at the de Young Museum Theater, San Francisco for a free-ranging discussion of “100 Years of Robot Art and Science in the Bay Area”

Co-Sponsored by the UC CITRIS “People and Robots” Initiative

5:00pm, Doors Open for Friday Nights at the de Young museum with free
admission, live music, cash bar, cafe, kids welcome.

The discussion in the main theater is in conjunction with the de Young’s
exhibition honoring the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Panama-Pacific
International Exposition. It’s organized by Kevin Chen from the de
Young in collaboration with Ken Goldberg from UC Berkeley and
Alexander Rose from The Long Now Foundation and will feature in the
Theater a series of 10-minute conversations between local artists,
researchers, writers, and curators, with artist Jenny Odell as “visual
jockey” providing live images as participants discuss robots, art, and
science from historical and contemporary perspectives: including Pieter Abbeell, Catharine Clark, Ken Goldberg, Karen Marcelo, John
John Markoff, Josette Melchor, David Pescovitz, Zander Alexander Rose, Tim
Roseborough, Dorothy Santos, Kal Spelletich, Terry Winograd


Iam thinking about: Talk for De Young 11/2015

How to get more women involved?
How to support artists working in this vein?
Are you getting support from the new technologists?

Directions in kinetic sculpture by Peter Selz at the Berkely Museum.

I am thinking about the beginnings of the SF robot scene for me, working with SRL and how doing something aggressive, getting confidence from people who didn’t like what we were doing.

What I like about Bay Area art robotics work and something I always aspire towards is some sort of randomness/unpredictability, an unknown. Where robots and machines do what they want/a lack of control.The machines have their own personality that we can’t totally control. Of course industry doesn’t do this. The uncanny valley as unpredictableness & impracticalness. Tech that does not fulfill traditional capitalist expectations. To never build something “useful”.

We wanted to do something that is uniquely ours, American, part of this new culture, technology hacked. Application-less engineering, we were never going to build a vacuum robot, or something that cleans the window, one must be an outlier/renegade, working from the edge not from the inside.

The juxtaposition of opposites -Humans wearing robots/interfacing directly with them/tree robots.
Technology that can manipulate emotions.
Interactive art is a catalyst towards an engaged life.
Interactivity play and fear as a metaphor for engaging with society.
Making work that honors and critiques technology at the same time.

Interfacing humans and machines into hybrid systems.
When the robots take over, the only advantage humans will have is creativity. Program what you will into a robot: emotional response, basic problem solving, artificial intelligence whatever- how can anyone program divergent thinking?  Or empathy.
So, when the robots take over because they are more efficient and immortal- the only thing we’ll be able to leverage against them will be our creativity. Therefore:
Salvation = Creativity

An attempt to clarify the fundamental notions by which people
understand the world, e.g., existence, objects and their properties,
space and time, cause and effect, possibility. A central branch of
metaphysics is ontology, the investigation into the basic categories
of being and how they relate to each other.

Sensors that respond to ones individuality, they aren’t programmed.
Can machine robots convey their audiences personality/emotions?
Making consciousness manifested physically.
Giving the sculptures an awareness.
To build right thinking machines.
To HAVE SOME FUN AND leave the planet a little weirder.

The old growth forest of art in the bay area is being clear cut
It is like a garden, you don’t only just grow vegetables, you grow some flowers, and BOTH need nutrition and support.

So this was a very interesting gig.

•October 27, 2015 • Leave a Comment

At the UN plaza in downtown San Francisco www.artnightsf.com    https://www.facebook.com/events/1621734234782447/  exhibiting interactive robots. This is where I have been buying vegetables since 1985. Where I would bring coffee and bagels to the AIDS victim protestors chained to the Federal Building….


Luckily I didn’t win the exhibition art prize of $2,000.00 dollars given out by Air b ‘n b. Some guy who crochet’s won! But, I could have done something “good” with it. (see below)

A whirling dervish, a walking dog that gave out Halloween chocolates. A robotized tree. A flying boot. They are all interactive and only work if the audience engages. Hand pressure touch and movement sensors…..

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Thank goodness at the last minute i grabbed an old rug Tanya helped me drag home, that I found on the street out in the sunset. It gave a little mood and soft on the feet for hours!


Oh, the questions! The smirks, but the tweakers and homeless were the best. No silly questions from them, just joy! Some hesitation, but not like I am too hip to try something new so as to not to let myself be taken out of my comfort zone hesitation. The guy with the Jesus Is Coming! REPENT! 99% of USA DOOMED!  sign around his neck was the best. (of course we are doomed, doomed to die). AND, he ran 2 robots at once.

What is interesting are the people that came back, 2, 3, 6 times over to operate the robots. They bring friends over. They will run these things into the ground.
Some people get MAD! Really. It upsets them.This robot is going to break! It is going to hurt someone! These clothes are too old! What does it do? Is that all!? How much do you make doing THIS! Have it really fly!, Why don’t you work for NASA!? Art!? this isn’t art.  Why don’t you……fill in the blank (make something useful/make my stupid idea, (i get this constantly). I know what you should make! Did people tell Rothko that? why don’t you paint some water lilies?

But by far the majority love it. They are blissful and happy.
I have shown my work all over the world. Probably 1000 times.
This one was special. Next to the bar!
In front of the DJrave dance floor! too loud, I don’t like techno.
In front of the silent disco. Just right.
By the fountains! Running no less.

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But the audience won it all hands down. Right on Market street and most folks were not used to seeing art let alone interactive robots.
And a wonderful curator Jenny Sharaf.

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Air B ‘n B
“[I]f only the hosts really were ‘regular people,’ who lived in their own home and occasionally rented out a room or the whole house while away, nobody would object much.”
But the truth is Airbnb is investing over $8M to stop F exactly because the bulk of Airbnb rentals in SF are entire vacant units — many of them operated by the same “host” — and that’s the market activity that made the young founders billionaires in just a few years and scored the company a $25 billion valuation. They know exactly what will happen if F passes and existing laws are enforced. All that illegal money will go away.
“Airbnb has become its own worst enemy by stubbornly refusing to work with local officials to figure out a way to enforce sensible laws that prohibit conversions of rental apartments into de facto hotels.”
Yes on F – www.sharebettersf.com

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Photos and Videos from The Exhibit Into TheWoods at the Jules Maeght Gallery

•October 23, 2015 • Leave a Comment


The Jules Maeght Gallery 149 Gough Street in San Francisco

I have 5 machine robots on display and ran my whiskey pourerer at the opening.

The exhibit is up until January 30, 2016.


Some video here; https://vimeo.com/143438395

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The Boss hard at work.


Video of Machinetreerobot


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INTO THE WOODS features works by contemporary artists — Marco Del Re, Luc Doerflinger, Joanne Easton, Cécile Granier de Cassagnac, Laine Justice, Brett McCormack, Kal Spelletich and Justin Teisl.
Jules Maeght Gallery
149 Gough St. – San Francisco – CA 94102 – info@julesmaeghtgallery.com – (415) 549-7046

THis Sunday Street Talk/Performance

•August 25, 2015 • Leave a Comment

me in the shop copy

Photo by: Arnaud Gaertner

From the Maestra,

Hey you guys

So i’ve told you i wanted to do a dorkbot at that parklet on Valencia at 24th with the 2 podiums and you all were into it.
I will invite more but before i do i wanted to pick a date.

How does SUNDAY Aug 29th sound?  Its a Sat.  I figure if we start at 3:30 and go to 4:30 we can all convene at a bar or food after.
I was going for the early side to avoid crowds and hit happy hour… does that date work for all?  If it does i’ll start inviting others
then announce.

No electricity so just talk, demo, fly a drone, bring a robot and the crowd will gather :)  The podium sign up sheet limits
each person to 3 min each but if we snag a contigous chunk (i’ll go there earlier) im sure if we all do 5 min open dork style
things that’ll be fun?

Lets use the public space!  I might pass a jar around for our beer after but i’ll buy you all a round!

What do you all think?  Its the Sat before burning man too so hopefully they’ll all be gone

Thanks all!


INTO THE WOODS Opening October 15, 2015

•August 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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Jules Maeght Gallery

Media Contact: Luc Sokolsky info@julesmaeghtgallery.com (415) 549-7046
Jules Maeght Gallery
Jules Maeght Gallery 149 Gough Street @ Oak
October 15, 2015 – January 30, 2016
Early tomorrow morning we will take the children out into the forest to where it is the thickest. There we will light a fire for them, and give each of them one more piece of bread, and then we will go to our work and leave them alone. They will not find the way home again, and we shall be rid of them.
Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm
August 18, 2015 – San Francisco, CA.

The exhibition INTO THE WOODS announces the Jules Maeght Gallery’s second year in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley. INTO THE WOODS features works by contemporary artists — Marco Del Re, Luc Doerflinger, Joanne Easton, Cécile Granier de Cassagnac, Laine Justice, Brett McCormack, Kal Spelletich and Justin Teisl — in a range of techniques and media : painting, sculpture, drawing and installation. The works selected coalesce in the service of storytelling through image-making. Drawing from fairytales and folk legends, the international artists in this group exhibition explore dreamlike and expressive themes creating haunting landscapes, strange environments, mysterious people and creatures that are at once magical, ominous and compelling.

New York based artist Brett McCormack highlights with his black and white intricate paper sculptures the predatory systems of the forest, in which life is indeed reliant on death. French artists Luc Doerflinger and Cécile Granier de Cassagnac’s haunting representations of animalistic forms in gouache and watercolor revisit childhood nightmares, suggesting a forest filled with characters from Brothers Grimm tales. Marco Del Re mixes technique and mythology, incorporating both Greek and Biblical tales into his linocuts, each then painted individually by hand. Laine Justice’s magical composite creatures painted on paper scrolls draw on Persian mythology, populated by imaginary humans and animals offer a forest scene more akin to a chaotic dream than a place of repose or reflection.
Jules Maeght Gallery
149 Gough St. – San Francisco – CA 94102 – info@julesmaeghtgallery.com – (415) 549-7046
Jules Maeght Gallery

Joanne Easton’s more conceptual work integrates artificial materials with discarded tree branches, exploring the boundaries between the quotidian and the mystical in reference to the longevity (or lack thereof) of art itself. Justin Teisl’s epoxy and acrylic paintings display our conflicting ideology towards the woods, at times visceral, at other times bordering on abstraction. Finally, local artist Kal Spelletich’s interactive tree robots exude grace in the face of fear. Spelletich’s robots encourage active engage- ment with the physical while interrogating how machines can support our spiritual tendencies.

The forest is a primordial locus and has always been representative of the unknown or the unconscious; it is a landscape replete with darkness, cruelty and dream-like qualities. The artists selected for INTO THE WOODS explore the effects and affects of the forest, the complex interplay between positive and negative space, which underlines our concurrent fear and fascination for the space the woodlands occupy in our lives and imaginations.

Jules Maeght Gallery
149 Gough St. – San Francisco – CA 94102 – info@julesmaeghtgallery.com – (415) 549-7046


Streetopia Book from the exhibit…

•August 3, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Installation by Barry McGee

Installation by Barry McGee

From and Exhibit I helped curate and participated in.

They’re here!!! get ‘um while they are hot!!
After San Francisco’s new mayor announced imminent plans to “clean up” downtown with a new corporate “dot com corridor” and arts district–featuring the new headquarters of Twitter and Burning Man— curators Erick Lyle, Chris Johanson, and Kal Spelletich brought over one hundred artists and activists together with neighborhood residents fearing displacement to consider Utopian aspirations and to plot alternate futures for the city. Opening in May 2012 at the Luggage Store Gallery, the resulting exhibition Streetopia was a massive anti-gentrification art fair that took place in venues throughout the city. For five weeks, Streetopia featured daily free talks, performances, and skillshares while operating a free community kitchen out of the gallery.

This book brings together all of the art and ephemera from the now-infamous show—featuring work by SWOON, Barry McGee, Emory Douglas, Monica Canilao, Rigo 23, Xara Thustra, Ryder Cooley, and many more. Using the format of an exhibition catalog as a jumping off point, the book also includes essays and interviews with key participants that consider the effectiveness of Streetopia’s projects while offering a deeper rumination on the continuing search for community—and for Utopia—in today’s increasingly homogenous and gentrified neo-liberal cities in an era of unprecedented wealth disparity.
Pre-order now for September delivery.

The Make Out Room featuring an Survival Research Laboratories Poster

The Make Out Room featuring an Survival Research Laboratories Poster


Giants in the Sky

•May 30, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I am giving a talk this Saturday and running my hugging machine in the South Bay+++++


I am in this exhibit!

“Giants in the Sky: The Rise and Fall of Airships” in Los Gatos California.

Breathing Wings copy

I am exhibiting a Flying Boot, a Portable Flying Machine In A Valise, Hugging Machine and some videos.

See the invite below, I hope to see you all…..

The exhibition will be on view from June 6 through September 27, 2015
The Public opening is June 6, 2015  from 12 – 5 pm


Formerly the Museums of Los Gatos, New Museum Los Gatos will open on June 6th, 2015. Please join NUMU and our neighbors, Friends of the Los Gatos Library as we celebrate our grand re-openings together!

Free Admission all day to NUMU! Remarks from the town, NUMU and Friends of the Library will begin at 1:30pm.

Great art and living history. Performance art featuring Dani Dodge. Robots lovingly created by Kal Spelletich. Interactive displays, the interplay of art and music, performance art, story telling and robots!



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