Matthew Kaplan, DXARTS

Contact mgkaplan@u.washington.edu

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.