Today art and tech come together for an artsy sci-fi project called "Long Distance," a type of virtual performance. For the project, Austrian artist Alex Kiessling is drawing a picture while two robots in Berlin and London are creating the same image in real time. In each of the three cities, large screens are set-up so viewers can watch the three "artists" at work.
"Long Distance" is made possible by infrared sensors, which are attached to Kiessling's pen in Vienna and send the artists' strokes via satellite to the robots, ABB IRB 4600 industrial machines, in the other two cities. Although the three drawings are being completed at the same time, they do not look exactly alike. One of the robots draws with darker strokes, which may be a result of how it was built. Designing the technology took six months, according to Kiessling.
In a press conference, Kiessling said, "It appeared to me in working with the machines that it was less about a kind of copy and more like a clone." A copy or not, this international project raises questions about the machine as the artist. Is the robot's arm just as good as Kiessling's hand?
Kiessling's drawing is made of three heads where one whole face sits between two half faces. The half faces line up with the robots' works, and after they are completed, the three drawings will be displayed as a triptych in London and Vienna.