Matthew Kaplan, DXARTS
Mark of Civilization
A defining characteristic civilization is the ability for a society to maintain crops. In Mark of Civilization, a robot will seek out flora and tend to it, applying light and water. The robot will traverse a dirt platter, detecting organic material with a light sensor, which will check for reflectance, organic material reflecting more than soil. The robot will then use a strong flashlight and spray bottle to light and water the organic material for a fixed amount of time before moving on so as to not over light or water. The robot’s movements will be captured with a camera, generating a time-lapse video via a series of successive photographs in a manner similar to videos of wildlife. It is said that what makes humans different from animals is that we control and shape our environment. This robot will do just that, and in doing so, define itself in some ways as being like man, being a master over its environment. The video will then be a sort of study of this new creature, the robot, in the way we study animals and organic systems that take a long time to mature. The video will also be a study of the robot’s interaction with its organic environment, and so the viewer will be left pondering organic/inorganic interactions. They will also be left to ponder how we, humans, are defined and viewed, and to experience the monotonous and toiling nature of farming.