by Scott J Lachut
If documenting trips to faraway lands is beginning to take time away from actually enjoying them, then a robotic picture-taking duck may be just what you need. In an effort to "to liberate cameras from human operation," South Korean artist Taeyoon Choi created a traveling companion, "Camerautomata Charlie: Image Digesting Robotic Duck," that snaps photographs in response to other camera flashes and can print them on the spot or upload them to your favorite website using WiFi. The piece is being presented as part of a larger exhibit, "Tourists and Travelers," currently on display at Eyebeam Studios.
The project is Choi's response to the numerous technological advances already in place to make our lives more convenient combined with his perception that one picture of fill-in-the-blank tourist attraction is just as good as any other. By choosing the duck motif, Choi is paying homage to French Inventor Jacques de Vaucanson, who in 1739 unveiled his masterpiece the "Digesting Duck," while simultaneously commenting on sightseers tendencies to "flock" to particular spots.
Though there are no plans yet to begin manufacturing Charlie on a large scale, you can catch a glimpse of him in his natural habitat on Saturday, June 28th. A guided tour courtesy of Choi and his mechanical feathered friend will depart from Eyebeam Studios at 2:30 and wind its way up to Bethsheda Terrace in Central Park. Impressing your neighbors just got a whole lot easier.
Tourists and Travelers
Through 19 July 2008
540 West 21st Street
New York, NY 10011
tel. +1 212 937 6580