DEFINITION AND DEVELOPMENT OF ROBOGRAPHY
"What robography really is, I couldn't say."
"What robography really is to me,
personally, that I can say..."
"The creation of (analog/digital) Images, in or on (varietal) media, with/by
recording device(s), by robotic means, (including remote, end-effector,
jig-held, or technically evolved hand-held means).
The recording, and/or display of image information (light, hysteresis, etc.
through analog or digital devices/means)."
"I've been working on a definition that applies to my artwork, but it is a
personal usage of the word, the way I appropriated the word "Stratigraph" for
some earlier works I did using a chainsaw to make drawings on wood panels."
|STRATIGRAPHS - Mark Lindquist
Having evolved out of a craft tradition of
technical woodworking skills, my work began several years ago to
investigate the meaning of the cut. In the philosophy of Buddhist
carpenters and wood sculptors, the first action, or first cut, mars the
perfection of nature. The cut evidences the interaction of humankind
with nature. The destructive nature of the cut (what we call the
subtractive process) has the potential to be positive if it embodies the
spirit of both craft and art.
The Chinese used the words "Tzu-Jan" to describe the characteristics of
brush strokes which came alive like "the birds' flight." Japanese
calligraphers captured the essence of their materials and their subjects
through the deft manipulation of their brushes. Italians called this
casual, seemingly offhand manner of sketching "sprezzatura." After many
years of disciplined study, these serendipitous effects become possible.
When I was a child growing up in the San Francisco Bay area, my aunt
took me to parks and zoos. I remember in particular wooden bridges over
small streams, and small Japanese puzzles, brightly colored, intricately
carved, and made with careful craftsmanship. Ironically, these objects
were produced in the cheapest wood. But how exquisite! I found
click-clack puzzles, fans, scrolls, boxes and carved animals enticing
because of their outward beauty, but the questionable quality of the
materials inevitably asserted itself. The works in another of my current
series -- painted, chainsaw carved reliefs in plywood -- establish a
similar tension between beauty and “substandard” material. I employ
traditional, art historical expression and master craftsmanship, and pit
ideas and inexpensive materials against each other to create a relaxed
state of tension. The plywood is mass-produced and processed. I now use
a sophisticated custom-built hydraulic chainsaw as a stylus, simulating
Tzu-Jan or sprezzatura to create intricate lines. The applied colors
work in concert traditionally, in the historical sense of the
interaction of colors, yet more significant are the altered states that
result when the paint reacts with the layers of plywood it invades, and
is encased beneath layers of finish. The prodigal treatment of the
material liberates the innate noble essence of wood.
Mark Lindquist, Stratigraph, 1995,
Polychrome on plywood
These two-dimensional works are ambiguous. They could be chainsaw
drawings, or painted low relief carvings. Ultimately, however, this
medium allows me to express the variety of interests I have in art
history, philosophy, photography, woodworking, painting, and sculpture.
The intertextuality, simulacra, and parody of subject matter create the
disconcerting state of pastiche.
Overall the works are all about layers; layers of growth, of
civilization, of thought, and being; layers of decline, contradiction,
decomposition, and regeneration. Les Couches Decouvertes (French for
“the layers uncovered”), is about uncovering the archaeological or
stratigraphic histories / ideologies of those various epistemologies.
Mark Lindquist - September 15, 2003
Robographs are technical, and they result from a synthesis of man and machine."
"It's very simple really, but it's easy to become bogged down in jargon or
nomenclature, particularly when entering a technical realm such as photography"
" In my world view, a robograph is:"
An image created by any means of image recording technology, i.e. traditional
photography, or digital imaging, or engraving (graphical rerecording) done
(largely) by remote control, i.e., through the use of a sequence initiating
device, such as a button, relay, integrated circuit, wireless transfer switching
mechanisms, including all historical photographic exposure systems, with the
intent of capturing (crafting or creating) an image for purposes of artistic,
documentary or scientific means or expression, and created for the purposes of
capturing or documenting motion of:
A moving object (object in motion)
The motion of the recording device itself
A combination of the recording device and the object in motion.
The image may exist in or on any medium (film, transparency, paper or related
media such as canvas, linen, parchment, wood, clay, etc.etc.,) or as a digital
The method of capture implies that motion (impulsion) is inherent in the process
Initial positioning of the recording device
Pre-prescribed path of the recording device
Co-incidental result of motion inherent in process (i.e. accidental or
free-style movement of recording device created purposely as part of the process
or resulting as serendipitous to the process ( for example a random motion
creates a unique capturing)
Duplicative or repetitive means (CNC , remote control within specified tolerance
Non- duplicative means through remote control but along similar prescribed paths
Motion pathway of recording device is referred to as linear or circulinear or
combining elements of the two throughout the duration of the recording process
OBJECT (SUBJECT / OBJECT)
Subject is in motion
Subject is not in motion
Subject is in or out of motion throughout the duration of the recording.
Subject is in view or not in view throught the duration of recording (ie, the
subject enters into part of the phase and exits at another part of the phase,
repeats, or completes).
MOTION OF BOTH RECORDING DEVICE AND SUBJECT
Combining the aspects of motion of the recording device and the aspects of
motion of the subject or object.
Method of capture implies remote or robotic control.
Remote, meaning that the recording device is held by mechanical or
Device is clamped or fastened in some manner that implies control (i.e., a
camera is clamped to tripod or external holding/fastening device enabling
stability throughout movement, via a tripod, ball head accessory, etc.), or a
router, lazer, etc., (any graphical recording device ) , is held in a position
Device is hand held using control techniques designed to promote stability and
control, such as bracing, or "locking in" techniques employed by craftsmen, for
the purpose of achieving specific level of quality in process (i.e., using a
chainsaw as a stylus in order to create drawings or carvings on wood), or using
an engraving tool in order to mark a signature, etc., using a "free-hand"
technique. A highly advanced technique employing movement of a tool along a
practiced and/or mastered path to achieve high-level results. Any precision
motion mimicking the prescribed path of making or recording of an automated
process recording or making device by a human using a jig or free hand to
produce sophisticated end product.
Device is actual end-effector on remote or robotic device (Robot). Robot employs
recording device to create "robograph". (Robotically controlled camera creates
motion image (video, digital file, etc.), and the resulting image is printed
using a computer, controlling a printer (CNC output device). (In robotics, an
end effector is a device or tool connected to the end of a robot arm. The
structure of an end effector, and the nature of the programming and hardware
that drives it, depends on the intended task.)
Production robots mimicked human work/object scenarios to achieve repetitive
process and quality control. Similarly, now, humans mimic robots in repetitive
process and quality control.
Repetitive process in the manufacture of art and/or craft mimics robotics in
20th, and 21st Century making endeavor.
RECORDING DEVICE | RECORDING METHOD | RECORDING MEDIUM
OUTPUT MEDIUM | OUTPUT METHOD | OUTPUT DEVICE
REPETITIVE MOTION: (of Recording Device) (see replication) (see reiteration)
Images captured through repetitive / duplicative process
Images captured through repetitive / non-duplicative process
Images captured through a duplicative process involving exact replication under
precision computer numeric control through programmed execution. (Programmed
Capture using Robotic Arm)
Images captured through a non-duplicative process involving sequential capturing
under precision remote, non-programmed process involving jigs, or highly
developed bracing techniques to assist in precision capture.
I needed to consolidate several controllers in order to be able to work more
efficiently and taught myself a level of electronics that allowed me to
accomplish my goals, but I never took it beyond that." I am more aligned with
the inventor, the experimenter, the hobbyist, or perhaps what you might call a
gadgeteer." "I like that - the idea of playing with things, keeping a playful
spirit, playing games with the tools and the materials and the ideas. I've used
"go-kart technology" (What I refer to my brand of gadgeteering) to make some
interesting robotic tools for my work in wood sculpture, and of course, those
aspects have crept over into robotics with photography. This is a robotic setup
I've used for many years incorporating hand / remote control of tools and
A roboticist, is someone who designs, builds, programs, and experiments with
Roboticists develop mechanical devices that can move by themselves, whose motion
is modeled, planned, sensed, actuated and controlled, and whose motion behavior
can be influenced by the programmed task as well as by the environment in which
the robot device operates. Robots are called "intelligent" if they succeed in
moving in safe interaction with an unstructured environment, while autonomously
achieving their specified tasks.
SEE: The Robotics WEBook
An online textbook about robots and other mechatronic systems (http://www.roble.info/robotics/robotics/)
Types of robots: Intelligent Vs. Dumb
Intelligent robots use closed loop computerized control, dumb robots do not.
(Dumb robots are controlled through remote or human assist means).
ROBOT-ASSIST : ([neologism-ML], employs robotic means in the accomplishment of
Dumb Robot: ("Human-Machine Interfaces") a mechanical system that includes human
involvement within the loop, i.e., a remote controlled robot used for specific
tasks, repetitive or precision in nature, to assist in the completion of tasks.
Conversely; human activity that includes mechanical means or devices within the
performance of activity.
According to this definition of (dumb robot) both a car and driver are part of a
dumb-robotic system. The car would be a dumb-robot being controlled by human
involvement, and/or the human would be a dumb-robot, employing the mechanical
device (car) in order to perform a task (driving). In this sense, the robot
(car) aids in the completion or a repetitive task (moving objects) in a precise
manner (speed, safety, comfort) in a symbiotic relationship. The car does not
drive itself (yet), and the human is not able to move through time and space
precisely, (yet), without the aid of the vehicle.
Thus in photography, the camera accomplishes specific tasks through
electromechanical means: It internally actuates a shutter mechanism either
(externally) through pushing a shutter button that actuates the shutter for
exposure, and it may accomplish the task of capturing an image with human
involvement in the loop, or remotely, programmed or unprogrammed, tethered to a
computer or intervalometer to accomplish the exposure. If the camera is
actuated, tethered to a computer, programmed to execute specific repetitive
tasks (i.e. make a certain number of shutter actuations in a certain sequence
for a certain amount of time, etc.,) and is controlled by the program of the
computer, the process would be robotic, in that the execution of the task was
automated, carried out with a degree of "native intelligence", where after
programming, human involvement was no longer required. When a human (dumb-robot)
actuates exposure through the means of a remote control, (wired, or wireless),
the process becomes innately "dumb-robtical" in that the human/machine symbiosis
exists. The camera is a dumb-robot component, the operator is a dumb-robot
component: together their relationship is "dumb-robotical", or bio-robotical (to
imply biological/mechanical mechanism [HMI]), or robomimical (mimicking a purely
autonomous robotical activity) at the very least human and machine become
counterparts. Robomimical behavior is most apparent in repetitive task human
involvement, whereby activity becomes 1) learned, 2) practiced, 3) skilled 4)
mastered 5) transcendent. In transaction of mundane tasks, such as
manufacturing, robotic systems excel. In certain aspects of manufacturing,
humans excel, where robots fail. In art, the missing component of roboticism is
nuance, or original expression. A musician may perform and the performance may
be recorded and played back exactly, but rarely, if ever, can the human perform
the same piece again, exactly as before, and rarely, if ever, can the recorder
(robotic device) come up with an equivalent masterpiece of original expression,
similar to what the maestro could do.
Some terms that apply to the idea of robography:
AUTOMATION: meaning "self dictated" (from the ancient Greek) - the technique of
making an apparatus, a process, or a system, operate automatically (using
electro/mechanical devices obfuscating human control.
AUTONOMATION: (Jidoka) ("automation with a human touch" ) Jidoka, means, in the
production context, not allowing defective parts to go from one work station to
the next. It specifically refers to machines or the production line itself being
able to stop automatically in abnormal conditions (for example, when a machine
breaks down or when defective parts are produced). This Autonomation (as it is
also called) allows machines to run autonomously, as they will stop when a
problem occurs. Ultimately, it is about transferring human (or better)
intelligence to machines.
Jidoka is also used when individual people encounter a problem at their work
station. They are responsible for correcting the problem - if they cannot, they
should stop the line rather than let the defective part do.
The principle was first used by Sakichi Toyoda at the beginning of the 20th
century when he invented a loom which stopped when the thread broke.
( http://syque.com/improvement/Jidoka.htm )
ANIMATION is the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D artwork or model
positions in order to create an illusion of movement.
INSTRUMENTATION: use of instruments (devices) for observation, measurement, or
ACTUATION (implies) human action or human activity > to put into mechanical
action or motion - to move to action (see http://www.wordreference.com/definition/actuation),
REPLICATION: (see Merriam Webster 4: "performance of an experiment or procedure
more than once")
SIMULATION: (see Merriam Webster Đ 3a: "the imitative representation of the
functioning of one system or process by means of the functioning of another <a
computer simulation of an industrial process> b : examination of a problem often
not subject to direct experimentation by means of a simulating device) (see
MIMICRY: (see Merriam Webster 1a, and 2:
1 a : an instance of mimicking b : the action, practice, or art of mimicking
2 : a superficial resemblance of one organism to another or to natural objects
among which it lives that secures it a selective advantage (as protection from
ROBOMIMICAL *: Concomitant* Human/Machine involvement combined in a symbiotic
relationship of simulation/replication, where the human employs mastery of
movement techniques in order to accomplish transcendent goals in making art /
objects, etc., while using an electromechanical device to achieve those ends.
*(This is a neologism created by Lindquist).
*See: Webster's: 2. concomitant
: something that accompanies or is collaterally connected with something else :
(Note: in the traditional sense of "instrumentation" (using an instrument to
perform artistic acts), i.e., a figure skater cannot accomplish the feats of
skating art/craft without the use of skates or blades.
The figure skater might be a glorified dancer, gymnast, etc., were it not for
the device (skates) but without the "gadget" simply could not achieve glorious
heights of a variety of spins that result from the physics unleashed through the
process of applied motion within that specialized process. An electric guitarist
cannot accomplish feedback or other process specific effects with an electric
guitar without the use of an amp and other electronic accessories. I contend
that in the modern world any and all human/electromechanical counterpart /
complementary involvement is Robomimical, given numerous electro magnetic forces
(EMF) that enter in that effect outcome. As we use devices powered by
electromagnetic energy (EMF's) we enter into a specialized state of being that
is distinctly different from a lesser charged simpler use of "tool". Being
plugged in, we partake of the realm of metaphysics, the realm of the mysterious
that we mostly don't understand, yet employ to our benefit.
We think of a car as just a car, yet it is a most sophisticated machine that
moves elegantly with us and we with it, as we are in tandem; we are as though
schools of fish or flocks of birds (see swarms, Synchronization, flocking
process, Tamas Vicsec (http://www.scienceblog.com/community/older/1998/A/199800332.html
), Navier-Stokes equation, the basic equation that describes fluid motion.
The movements in natural phenomenon inevitably become the model for motion study
and robotic process. Nature is our teacher, we can only imitate and learn from
THE PHYSICS OF FLOCKING. "...Studying one of the more remarkable examples of
collective behavior, scientists at IBM and the University of Oregon have
developed a physics- based theory of how a group of birds manages to move
together as a single unit, even if the individual birds make frequent
misjudgments and can only see an extremely small fraction of the other birds in
the flock. In their model, the researchers capitalized on similarities between
certain features of flock motion and several phenomena in physics. Like a group
of tiny bar magnets, the birds in the flocking model line themselves up in the
same direction by interacting with their closest neighbors. Like dust particles
in a fluid, nearby birds may soon find themselves far apart. Like parcels of hot
material spreading their heat through the process of convection, birds spread
information about the direction which they are moving by circulating themselves
through the flock. By incorporating the well-developed mathematical descriptions
of these processes in the model, and plugging in typical values of such
parameters as how fast real flocks move in the air, Tu and Toner came up with
realistic predictions of such things as how densely the birds are packed
together in certain situations and how this density fluctuates. (John Toner and
Yuhai Tu, Physical Review E, October 1998; more at www.aip.org/physnews/preview)ÉÓ
SEE ALSO: IGERT 499 Study Group
Swarming, Flocking, and Applications to Multi-Robot Systems
Electromagnetic Field: is a physical field that is produced by electrically
charged objects and which affects the behavior of charged objects in the
vicinity of the field. The electromagnetic field extends indefinitely throughout
space and describes the electromagnetic interaction, one of the four fundamental
forces of nature. The field can be viewed as the combination of an electric
field and a magnetic field. The electric field is produced by stationary
charges, and the magnetic field by moving charges (currents); these two are
often described as the sources of the field. The way in which charges and
currents interact with the electromagnetic field is described by Maxwell's
equations and the Lorentz Force Law. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_field)
Electromotive Force: (emf) is the amount of energy gained per unit charge that
passes through a device in the opposite direction to the electric field existing
across that device. It is measured in volts. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromotive_force)
HYSTERISIS: The lagging of an effect behind its cause, as when the change in
magnetism of a body lags behind changes in the magnetic field.
"...The lag between making a change, such as increasing or decreasing power, and
the response or effect of that change. It typically refers to turn-on and
turn-off points in electrical, electronic and mechanical systems. For example,
if a thermostat set for 70 degrees turns on when the temperature reaches 68 and
turns off at 72, the hysteresis is the range from 68 to 72..."
From wikpedia: "...Hysteresis phenomena occur in magnetic and ferromagnetic
materials, as well as in the elastic and electromagnetic behavior of materials,
in which a lag occurs between the application and the removal of a force or
field and its subsequent effect. Electric hysteresis occurs when applying a
varying electric field, and elastic hysteresis occurs in response to a varying
force. The term "hysteresis" is sometimes used in other fields, such as
economics or biology. In such cases it describes a memory or lagging effect in
which the order of previous events can influence the order of subsequent
CYBORG: see (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyborg)
According to some definitions of the term, the metaphysical and physical
attachments humanity has with even the most basic technologies have already made
us cyborgs. In a typical example, a human fitted with a heart pacemaker or an
insulin pump (if the person has diabetes) might be considered a cyborg, since
these mechanical parts enhance the body's "natural" mechanisms through synthetic
feedback mechanisms. Some theorists cite such modifications as contact lenses,
hearing aids, or intraocular lenses as examples of fitting humans with
technology to enhance their biological capabilities; however, these
modifications are no more cybernetic than would be a pen, a wooden leg, or the
spears used by chimps to hunt vertebrates. Cochlear implants that combine
mechanical modification with any kind of feedback response are more accurately
The prefix "cyber" is also used to address human-technology mixtures in the
abstract. This includes artifacts that may not popularly be considered
technology. Pen and paper, for example, as well as speech, language. Augmented
with these technologies, and connected in communication with people in other
times and places, a person becomes capable of much more than they were before.
This is like computers, which gain power by using Internet protocols to connect
with other computers. Cybernetic technologies include highways, pipes,
electrical wiring, buildings, electrical plants, libraries, and other
infrastructure that we hardly notice, but which are critical parts of the
cybernetics that we work within.
PANNING: Panning refers to the horizontal movement or rotation of a film or
video camera, or the scanning of a subject horizontally on video or a display
In photography, the panning technique is used to suggest fast motion, and bring
out foreground from background. In photographic pictures it is usually noted by
a foreground subject in action appearing still (i.e. a runner frozen in
mid-stride) while the background is streaked and/or skewed in the apparently
opposite direction of the subject's travel. (http://www.answers.com/topic/panning-camera)