It will never be able to ask "why don't you speak?" to the newly sculpted statue, but only because it can't speak itself. At least not yet. Like a modern Michelangelo, it could observe its work and take pride in what it has accomplished, but even in this case, it lacks feelings and doesn't have an ego to fill. That's because it's not a human being, but a robot called Bot-One. Created by the Italian company Robotor, this new sculptor is already working for artists from around the world like Maurizio Cattelan, Jeff Koons, Zaha Hadid, Vanessa Beecroft, and Barry X Ball. Will it replace artists?
THE FEATURES OF BOT-ONE
Looking at it, no one could ever imagine that it could speak or admire its own work, given its non-humanoid shape. Bot-One sculpts through a zinc alloy arm resting on a block that protects its most delicate parts from the external environment in which it operates. Its robotic chiseling is managed by software guided by the artist's designs but self-programmed, allowing access even to non-experts, while the manufacturers promise a reduction in time. The company offers three different sizes (M, L, and XL), with the possibility of creating sculptures up to 4.5 meters in height.
IT ALL STARTS IN CARRARA
An idea like this could only originate in Carrara, the same city that produced the precious marble used by Michelangelo himself to sculpt his statues. Robotor already had years of experience in using robotic systems for marble processing and claims to have "developed an advanced solution born from research and interaction between art, territory, tradition, and technology." With the new developments, the extracted material "can now be transformed, even in extreme conditions, into complex works in a way that was once considered unimaginable." Their creation could bring sculpture into a "new era that no longer consists of broken stones, chisels, and dust, but of scans, new points, and designs" that "make life as simple as possible for humans."
REPLACING ARTISTS? THERE'S ALREADY CONTROVERSY
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With innovation, controversies arise, and art and technology have always been in conflict with each other. The New York Times stated that they "don't need another Michelangelo" and recounted the shocked impressions of artists who feared being replaced. Giacomo Massari, one of the founders of Robotor, explains, "We want to help the artist, not replace them," emphasizing that "marble sculpture is an art that is disappearing due to the long processing times and the required effort." He says, "Artists have always been assisted by apprentices and machines in their work, with the artist conceiving the work while artisans assist them, and in some cases, these two figures are combined in the same person." Therefore, the goal is to "leave the artist with the imagination of the work and the finishing touch, that human skillful gesture that makes the statue an object of art."