Jaques Tati's Playtime is a film parodying the problems of imposing modernism on the human. We see Jaques as he tries to navigate his way around a futuristic glass and steel Paris.

He pokes fun at the impracticalities of this modernist future but it's the subtleties that really make it. The noises of people as they try to deal with the furniture and the clicking of steps along highly-polished marble corridors.

Mood boards

The idea of an automated home with a robotic mind is very much based in the world of science fiction. It's important therefore to look at the type of world where this was considered not only a possibility, but an accepted model of the future.

The images are taken largely from the height of the consumerist 50s and 60s.

Robot Swarms

Initial research on domestic robot was fed by the belief that a human would not WANT to interact with it. This was fuelled by the old upstairs/downstairs approach to servitude. The perfect servant does not intrude at all on the master. The sensible solution to this seemed to be the swarm robot.

The swarm robots would be able to divide themselves up to hide around the home and signal to each other to form the particular tools or implements necessary for certain tasks.

There is an element of creepiness to this, a sort of haunted house effect. Items would move around the house without human interaction, things would change without knowledge of the owner and it's very possible that this may alienate an individual from their home, turning it into a more unfamiliar environment like a hotel.

The other problem is of communication. Without a face to recognise and talk to, or an input, how does one communicate with this entity living in their house?


Two different films made as part of the robot project.

The first here makes reference to the problem of the human/robot interest. The robot's primary concern is the cleanliness of the home. In a very War Games/Terminator way, the human interrupts it's primary objective and becomes alienated within the home.

The second here was a sort of mood piece in advance of the sculpture that completed the project.