Dobson, Kelly

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Digital access to this material is pending artist's approval. Materials may be viewed onsite at the Goldsen Archive, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Kroch Library, Cornell University.

I grew up in a junkyard that my family worked in for generations. From the age of four I was doing odd jobs such as smashing windows and hauling machine parts from one area of the yard to another. I had machine friends. By six I was holding car funerals and secretly stashing beloved parts in my own hidden burrow in the far side of the lot. It is my belief that this has influenced my ability to perceive relationships between people and machines.


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    2006 Rockefeller New Media Foundation Proposal
    Dobson, Kelly (2009-05-04T18:17:31Z)
    In Companion Projects I am specifically contesting the domestic robots marketed to people of all ages by creating robots with complicated psychological states similar to those that people might have, such as anxiety, neuroses, and psychoses. Omo, Amo, and Umo are three series of soft, lap sized, egg shaped, organ-like robots with secret lives, strange reactions, uncanny communications and neurotic propensities. They are held by people, and communicate through body signals. They are responsive to people (and animals, and machines) interacting with them, but unlike machines designed as consumer items, these robots are designed to be provocatively unstable. They are not emotionally subordinate, soothing, and "perfect" all the time - even if a person shows them affection they maintain the ability to misbehave. This presents people with emotional dilemmas and contradictions, as people vitally do with each other.