Adrianne Wortzel

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Camouflage Town

Adrianne Wortzel (b. 1941)
Camouflage Town, 2001
Networked robotic installation, website, computers,
and video cameras

Commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Developed at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art with a grant from the National Science Foundation and support from the NSF Gateway Engineering Education Coalition at Cooper Union.

Camouflage Town creates a theatrical scenario for a robot that lives in the Museum space and interacts with visitors. The robot, named Kiru, comments on its environment and transmits video images to monitors. It can be remotely controlled by visitors through the computer and plays the role of a cultural curmudgeon, mapping physical and virtual space as well as physical and virtual identity. Kiru’s personality reflects its ability to be each visitor’s avatar/alter ego, and his comments play on our willingness and capabilities to interact with a digital machine/character.

Kiru is a robot that lives here, at least for now.

Kiru says that Camouflage Town is a decoy town constructed for the practice of military maneuvers, war, and other scenarios of high drama. During periods when the tribe feels invincible, Camouflage Town serves as the official battlefield to which it lures its enemies with rumors of new treasures and tools.

Kiru says that he works as the master of opposites,with the full title of: “Librarian of Juxtapositions In All Their Degrees.” He and he alone is responsible for the tracking and recording of extremes; chosen because of his ability to withstand the stress of contradictions.

Walking up and down the lanes with bark and pen, Kiru offers fine-tuned philosophy and juxtapositions to everyone he meets: hot/cold, benign/lethal, inside/outside.
What he sees, the world sees.

—Adrianne Wortzel.



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