Inspired by my 1987–89 residency at the Exploratorium, a museum of science and art in San Francisco, I founded Amorphic Robot Works (ARW) in 1991. It grew into an ever-changing collective of artists, engineers and scientists, devoted to exploring the potentials of machine movement, intelligence and responsiveness. What we shared was a desire to make robotic and interactive sculpture as a reflection on the human condition.
While ARW’s output over our first decade comprised largely metal machines and robotic sculptures defined by structure, I have focused since 2006 on developing organic “soft machines” based on inflatable components. Designed and built at increasingly large scales, these ephemeral bodies, either freestanding or suspended in mid-air, use air pressure/vacuum to inflate and deflate through various states of articulation. They exhibit the phenomena of gradual metamorphosis, growth, decay, and interaction.
Since 1991, over 60 crew-members from ten countries have participated in creating ARW’s robotic sculptures and installations. Without the help of our talented and hardworking collaborators the complex, large-scale endeavors of Amorphic Robot Works would not be possible. We would also like to thank the many interns from academic institutions, and those at-large, who have made lasting contributions, or who have remained involved.
Chico and all Amorphic Robot Works endeavors are currently based in his studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn.