Archive for December, 2008

Roboexotica 2008

This last weekend, Roboexotica – the international festival for cocktail robotics – once again took place in the Freiraum/quartier21 at Museumsquartier Vienna.

Bre stuck inside a robot by Eddie Codel

Organized by Monochrom, SHIFZ and the Bureau for Philosophy, the year 2008 marks the 10th anniversary of the festival, which not only centers on the obvious thematics around robots and drinking culture, but also goes along with a series of panel talks, events and shows.

One of the most interesting and current topics the talks were dealing with certainly was the future of technology and DIY culture. Under the title Back to the Future – of Utopias in Cybernetics and Robotics, international artists, theorists, technologists and hackers discussed the importance of gaining more and more knowledge about (reverse-)engineering consumer electronic products and the change our world is currently undergoing.

roboeXotica by SHIFZ

The opening party of Roboexotica 2008 started off in front of the MQ, where the 25 foot tall interactive public sound installation RoboVox by media artist Martin Bricelj, speaking out text messages it receives via SMS, was set up.

roboexotica robovox by Bre Pettis

As for the festival weekend, the exposition involved several recurrent ‘classics’ such as the Robomoji by Robert Martin or the enhanced Chassis by Jon Foote and Al Honig; as well as lots of new, shiny and superb inventions like Liquidator by recurring guest Mikhael a Crest Sator or Sloth by Kal Spelletich, only to name a few.

More Roboexotica! by Bre Pettis
A night of high voltage music at Roboexotica by Bre Pettis
Liquidator shines by Eddie Codel

In the context of Roboexotica, Monochrom’s Taugshow #17 was dedicated to the subject, and held at Vienna’s collaborative technology/new media lab & hackerspace Metalab, featuring Mitch Altman, founder of 3ware and inventor of TV-B-Gone and the Brain Machine; maker/hacker/teacher/artist/podcaster/puppeteer/NYCResistor & Thingiverse co-founder Bre Pettis; SF-based Geek Entertainment TV producer, documentary filmmaker and technologist Eddie Codel, Monochrom’s artist in residence of November; and Krach der Robot, who provided the audience with noisy sounds and self-made attachable mini-antennas.

Taug Show #17 by Eddie Codel
Taug Show #17 by Eddie Codel

The official closing event of the Roboexotica 2008 festival took place at the MQ on Sun, Dec. 07th, and Chris Janka ushered the evening with a very special high voltage music show, performed on a Tesla coil connected to his electric guitar, followed by the awards ceremony.

A night of high voltage music at Roboexotica by Bre Pettis

The winners of Roboexotica 2008’s Annual Cocktail Robot Awards, ACRA v10.0, were announced as follows:

Fairy Juicer (Mitch Heinrich, David Fine) and Sloth (Kal Spelletich)
Mixing: Construction Wanker and K&K Kavalier Klavier (both exhibits by students of the FH Joannum)
Conversation: Chassis (Jon Foote, Al Honig)
Fire & smoke: Temporarily suspended!
Other achievements: Rim Shot Bot (CTP) and RepRap Shotbot (Marius Kintel, Philipp Tiefenbacher, Bre Pettis)

DSC07069 von CTP
CTP & Rim Shot by Eddie Codel
Roboexotica by Bre Pettis

Human subjugation:
Gina (students of the FH Joanneum)
Most legally challenging: RoboVox (Martin Bricelj)
Reproducability: Lego Shot Bot (Anthony Fudd)

Roboexotica by Bre Pettis

Most spectacularily breaking robot:
Sloth (Kal Spelletich)
Stickiest, ickiest: Globo (Johannes Grenzfurthner)
Most displaced in cocktail environment: Drill-pro-mill (students of the FH Joanneum)
Most politically and genderifically incorrect: Construction Wanker (students of the FH Joanneum)

Roboexotica continues by Eddie Codel

Some of the exhibits (unfortunately lacking US contestants who already had to leave home) will still be on display until Fri, Dec. 12th (closing at noon) at the MQ, so if you haven’t been there yet, go have a look!

Roboexotica by Edition Mono

Also, on the occasion of the event’s 10th anniversary, the retrospective Roboexotica in the form of a paperback was published by Edition Mono and can be purchased via Amazon.

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More info and useful links:
More photos on Flickr
Pre-Roboexotica 2008 post by Scott Beale on Laughing Squid
Post-Roboexotica 2008 post by Eddie Codel on Laughing Squid
Announcement of the Annual Cocktail Robot Award winners on SuicideBots

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All photos featured above have been taken by Eddie Codel, Bre Pettis, CTP, and SHIFZ, and are released under Creative Commos License AT-NC-SA.

Vienna Calling For A Freeze

With temperatures approaching the sub-zeros, it is an undeniable law of physics that things cool down and result in a freezed state. Due to our ability of thermoregulation largely supported by warm fluids like Punsch and Gluehwein only enjoyable in a narrow time window (The Gluehwein’sche Zeitfenster, I like to call it), we (Wieners that is) fortunately manage to get around, don’t we?

Not so on December 19.  After several actions like Freezes, Midnight Howling(s) and such have already taken place in Vienna, yet another Freeze is planned to happen on Stephansplatz (Plaza in front of Saint Stephen’s Cathedral) in the 1st district. Similar to the Grand Central Frozen initiative our fast paced life is asked to come to a sudden halt for a couple of minutes.

Several groups have been established on social networking pages (Facebook and StudiVZ groups) asking people to join happily and then to show up eventually. Not the most reliable source of information, my journalistic self complains. On discussion boards people are requesting a reschedule and claim it has to be more “of a surprise” and “flexible”. With major media having taken notice, I’m afraid this whole “Let’s have people freeze” thing isn’t going to be much of a surprise, nor is it going to be original. Yet, it might be fun.

So are you attending? Yes? No? Maybe?

Update (posted on Dec 11, 0633pm): There seems to be more information available now. I tried to sum it up for you as follows: There is a slight change of plans… The Freeze will take place on December 19 (FRI) at 0300 pm. In order to freeze at the same time, make sure your watch is in sync with the atomic clock ticking for you on There will be a loud whistle in order to mark the beginning and ending of the Freeze as well.

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