Robot Named Paul makes portraits of Bangkokians
1st July - 11 Aug 2017 at YenakArt Villa
12 Aug - 1st Oct 2017 at Sofitel So Bangkok (9th floor lobby)
Art-performance by Patrick Tresset
Free of charge participation at the art performance. The portraits can be purchased.
Paul is a portrait-artist robot, brainchild of London based French artist Patrick Tresset. Paul draws portraits with a black BIC pen on paper within 30 min.
YenakArt Villa will host Paul, and two of his avatars, each with a different drawing style, from very realistic to more suggestive, for a very special artist residency, from 1st of July to 30th of September 2017. During this period, everyone in Bangkok can have their portrait drawn by Paul.
About Paul Drawing Technique
Paul has a very specific morphology; a body constituted by a vintage school desk, with a left arm bolted to it with a ball point pen attached. Attached to the table is a motorized eye.
When Paul begins to draw, the camera's eye turns randomly around its axis, until it recognizes a face. It fixes the face for a moment before suddenly turning to the drawing sheet; the arm moves, proceeding in small traces in different places of the paper, while the eye follows its displacements. Sometimes it gets up and turns back to the model. At the end, Paul signs his work of art with his very own automaton autograph.
Paul & His Art
Paul the robot is actually a performer in a theatrical installation where passers-by can simply watch the sketching cyborg at work. As soon as Paul is in public, he becomes an actor; an actor that can simulate living beings with stylized behaviour that evokes humanness. Paul's fragile and rudimentary aspect is already a piece of art. His movements and style are fascinating. The viewer is impressed by the robot and gets connected with him; because it is a robot that is drawing from observation, it is almost perceived as being alive. The work of art is also somewhere in this relationship between man and machine.
The main questions raised by Paul are how we interact with art, how human beings depict other humans, how humans perceive artworks, how humans relate to robots, how people draw and how people perceive drawings. Paul is a system capable of producing drawings that have the same effect on the viewer as those produced by a human, without being pastiches. “Drawing is one of the most human related activities” says Patrick Tresset. “It is often seen as an indicator of intelligence that we can trace from prehistoric times.” “I programmed the robot to draw like I do. While trying to manipulate a robot you understand more and more what it means to be human. We realise how animals, including ourselves, are sophisticated and adaptable. The real world is highly unpredictable and complex. Yet, in the process of trying to get the robots to do anything, we understand more and more things about human being”.
Another question Paul is raising is the perils of robotics, which is often discussed in the media. For some of us, the future and potential of technologies can be very scary. But the problem with the future is neither with computers, nor with robots, it is with the humans who create and use them.
About Robot Named Paul
Paul was born in 2011 in a computing lab in Goldsmith’s University of London, as part of the PhD research project of Patrick Tresset. Since then Paul has been traveling all around the world.
Paul and his avatars have been hosted in some of the most prestigious places, such as the Pompidou Center in Paris, one of the most renowned contemporary art museums, and by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, one of the leading museums of art and design, and at the Prada Foundation for Contemporary Art in Milan. Last January, Paul the robot performed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, as part of the ‘Benevolent Machine’ show, which was exploring the impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Robot Named Paul is currently part of the Universal Expo in Astana and will be participating in a group show at Grand Palais in Paris in March 2018.
About The Residency
The residency at YenakArt Villa will be the first time Paul has performed in Thailand, the third journey of the Robot named Paul in Asia, after his stay in Seoul (2015 for the group show ‘Robot Essay’ at the Modern and Contemporary art museum) and Tokyo (2017 ‘Digital Chic - Machines Désirantes’ festival at the Institut Français). Thailand has the third largest audience on the Youtube Channel of the Robot Named Paul.