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Chico MacMurtrie

(Brooklyn, New York, United States)

Chico MacMurtrie, Skeletal Reflections, 2003
Chico MacMurtrie, The Ancestral Path Through The Amorphic Landscape, 2000 (video)
Chico MacMurtrie, The Ancestral Path Through The Amorphic Landscape, 2000 (video) Chico MacMurtrie, Skeletal Reflections, 2003 Chico MacMurtrie, Skeletal Reflections, 2003
"MacMurtrie's use of remote-controlled robots, "slaved" to the physical movements of human operators, reminds us of our ever more interdependent relationship with the machine world - a relationship in which the distinction between controller and controlled is not always clear." (1)

Born in New Mexico, U.S.A., Chico MacMurtrie currently lives and works in Brooklyn. He has a B.F.A. from the University of Arizona and a M.F.A. in New Forms and Concepts from the University of California at Los Angeles. MacMurtrie is the founder and Artistic Director of Amorphic Robot Works. (2)

Founded in 1992, Amorphic Robot Works (ARW) is a collaborative group of artists, hardware/software engineers, designers, and technicians. ARW creates interactive machine-sculptures in specifically designed environments. An exploration of kinesthetics, the group's robotic performances and installations focus on the human condition as it relates to the environment and on the ecosphere as it relates to the technosphere.

Chico MacMurtrie and ARW have received a number of grants and awards for their works - among them, five National Endowment for the Arts grants, an ARS Electronica's Distinction in Interactive Arts, as well as two honorary mentions at the VIDA LIFE Festival 2001 and ARS Electronica 1990.

Over the last ten years, ARW has created more than 250 anthropomorphic and abstract mechanical sculptures. In addition, the group has given numerous robot-building workshops for children. Urge, ARW's interactive sculpture, is permanently installed at the Children's Place of Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco. The group's robotic sculptures have been featured in various exhibitions throughout the USA, Mexico, Japan and many European countries. Telescoping Totem-pole, a series of organic robotic totem-poles, was featured at the Robotronika exhibition in 1998. (3) The Ancestral Path Through The Amorphic Landscape, a gigantic piece that depicts a society of robots in their environment, was shown at the Donaufestival Niederosterreich at Krems in Austria, at the Now 2000 festival in Nottingham, at the Musffathalle in Munich and at le lieu unique in France. (4) The first version of the group's latest work, Skeletal Reflections, was presented at the EXPO 2000 World Fair, Hanover, Germany. The video documentation version of this work was part of the VIDA LIFE 4.0 International Competition 2001. (5) Skeletal Reflections was presented at Exit Art Gallery in New York in March 2003.

Chico MacMurtrie and Amorphic Robot Works have completed the second phase of the research and development conceptual vision of Skeletal Reflections. The results have been included in the Robotic Landscape 2003 traveling exhibition.

Dominique Fontaine © 2004 FDL

(1) Dery, Mark. Escape velocity: cyberculture at the end of the Century, New York: Grove Press, 1996. 376 p.

(2) Amorphic Robot Works:

(3) Robotronika:

(4) Le lieu unique:

(5) VIDA LIFE 4.0 2001: