Retro robots to roam

Mr Partybot. Image supplied by QUT

He was a hit in the ‘70s and he promises to be just as popular when he joins the Robotronica party at QUT’s Gardens Point on Sunday August 20 2017.

Mr Partybot originally started life as a promo vehicle for a South Australian bank and is on loan to Cake Industries for Robotronica.

Known as Mr Partybot dating from roughly 1977, this internally simplistic but retro-futuristically clad creation, typified our futuristic robotic dreams.

Fast-forward 40 years and artist duo “Cake Industries” (Jesse Stevens & Dean Petersen) have breathed life back into the retro robot.

Mr Stevens said partybots were a 1970s phenomenon used for amusement, promotion, and entertainment.

“At a time where robots were relegated to research labs, the 1970s saw the evolution of the partybot – a glimpse of futuristic living,” he said.

“They were hugely popular at their time, and although their abilities were limited, they held the promise of a world where humans and robots lived together in harmony. They presented a vision of a future, where we could be served and entertained by robots,” Mr Stevens said.

“We have retrofitted Mr Partybot with modern technology to make him work again – the kind of technology that we dreamt we had when he was popular. He has been reborn to roam around spreading the party wherever he goes.”

Regional Victorian-based Cake Industries will present a number of works and attractions at Australia’s largest one day robotics festival, Robotronica, which runs from 9am-4pm August 20 2017 at QUT’s Gardens Point campus.

A collection of their most recent works will also been on display at QUT Art Museum in the exhibition Machination, running from 20 August to 29 October 2017.

“What we do is probably a departure from other robotic presentations that often focus on the future of robotics,” Mr Petersen said.

“I guess you could say we are looking back to a future, through retro-futurism.”

“Robots have been here for arguably over hundred years and with some of these works we are going back in time to turn our futuristic dreams into reality.”

As part of their entourage, Cake Industries will bring with them five exhibits/roaming installations including “Crate Expectations”, “Scenic”, “Super Box World”, “Destination Robots 1987” and “Mr Partybot 1977”.

Cake Industries utilises mechatronics, robotics, carpentry, 3D printing, and reworked everyday objects to create anthropomorphic and sometimes absurd sculptural works that embody anachronistic futurism.

“We enjoy exposing the inner workings of things, embracing the beauty of raw mechanisms, and physically remixing the world around us into visually distorted forms,” Mr Petersen said.

Source: QUT

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