Chico MacMurtrie / Amorphic Robot Works


Organograph: A Proposal for the San Jose Climate Clock Initiative
A Tree for Anable Basin installed in the New York waterway
Public Sculpture: Narrative

The physically imposing nature of ARW's work up to 2006 made it difficult to reach a large number of people. The fiscal constraints of producing some of ARW's larger shows practically insured a small, art-centric audience. To combat this effect, ARW has focused on pursuing and creating public works -- permanent and semi-permanent installations designed to connect with a larger segment of the public. Here we present a number of these works.

In 1999, ARW began to move its production focus from large-scale interactive installations and performances into the area of permanent, kinetic, public sculpture. The first of these public installations was the interactive work, Urge to Stand, placed in San Francisco. In this piece, a figure moves between a standing and sitting position atop a 9-foot globe in response to the weight of visitors upon an opposing bench. The weight of the visitor on the bench drives a series of hidden linkages that cause the figure on the globe sit with the visitor.

The second major public commission was the 2003 Growing, Raining Tree for Cincinnati's Contemporary Art Center. This organic piece uses a computer vision system to observe viewers' motion and position around the perimeter of the work. The Tree then responds to the presence of visitors by following them with one of its four large branches and dripping rhythmically into the pool of water in which it stands.

In 2004, ARW created a permanent time-keeping installation, Fœtus to Man, depicting the cycle of life for the 2004 European Cultural Capital city, Lille, France, and later that year, MacMurtrie initiated a public project with Dublin's youth in the form of a Mechanical Mural. A project that was brought to completion and put on public display in 2005.

The year 2007 saw the creation of Totemobile and A Tree for Anable Basin. Totemobile was premiered in Paris, France at the Citroën showroom. The Tree took residence in a less upscale neighborhood: a contaminated New York waterway, as a comment on the reclamation of the area.

Currently, ARW is pursuing the top position in the San José Climate Clock Initiative with our Organograph proposal. ARW's project is currently one of three finalists in the competition for the city's commission. This large-scale, permanent, public sculpture would be an ecological beacon, raising the awareness of the public about our effects on the planet, and is intended to act as incentive for other cities to commission similar public works on the environment. The exhibition of the work, from the winning proposal, is expected to open in San José in 2010.