Orcon's robot spiders crowdsource artwork

17:00, May 11 2012

If you're concerned that robots may get too smart and create an I, Robot scenario, be afraid. Be very afraid. Local ISP Orcon is set to use Twitter-controlled spider robots to create three artworks.

The company will be unleashing the spiderbots at the Semi-Permanent Creative Conference in Auckland, at the Aotea Centre on 18-19 May.

The spiderbots are controlled by Twitter users, who tweet the coordinates of a square on the grid of one of the works, and the colour they want that square painted. The spiderbots will be armed with cans of spraypaint - presumably one for each leg - and will set about painting that square in the correct colour.

"Spiders, Twitter and artwork are unusual bedfellows, but we're really excited about seeing this whole thing unfold and bringing another world-first to New Zealanders. We've always said the internet is everything, and now it's changing the way we create art," said Orcon's communications manager, Quentin Reade.

The artworks will use stencils donated by Barcelona graphic designer and illustrator Alex Trochut, Melbourne design studio SouthSouthWest and New York artist, and designer and printmaker Kelli Anderson, all of whom are speaking at Semi-Permanent.

Once the paintings are done, the stencils will be removed to reveal the final piece.


The idea for the Twitter-controlled bots came from M&C Saatchi, and created by New Zealand creative agency We Love Inc.

The spiderbots took 12 weeks to build and program.

"Twelve weeks and thousands of hours prototyping, testing, making, breaking and remaking are all part of it - from our studio in Hoxton, East London to the studio on K'Rd in Auckland," said We Love Inc spokesperson Nick Redwood.

The final artworks will be revealed on 19 May.

-PC World