"WE ARE ENTERING A NEW ERA OF SCULPTURE, WHICH NO LONGER CONSISTS OF BROKEN STONES, CHISELS AND DUST, BUT OF SCANNING, POINT CLOUDS AND DESIGN."
An Italian startup called Robotor has invented a machine that's nearly as good at carving marble masterpieces out of Carrara marble as its Renaissance-era predecessors.
As CBS News reports, Robotor founder Giacomo Massari is convinced his robot-machined marble statues are nearly as good as those made by humans. Almost.
"I think, let's say we are in 99 percent," he told CBS. "But it's still the human touch [that] makes the difference. That one percent is so important."
Massari even went a step further arguing that "robot technology doesn't steal the job of the humans, but just improves it" — a bold statement, considering the mastership that went into a form of art that has been around for thousands of years.
Art vs. Robartist
Robotor's latest robot sculptor, dubbed "1L," stands at 13 feet tall, a zinc alloy behemoth capable of carefully chipping away at a slab of marble day and night.
The company claims the technology is nothing short of revolutionary.
"The quarried material can now be transformed, even in extreme conditions, into complex works in a way that was once considered unimaginable," the company boasts on its website. "We are entering a new era of sculpture, which no longer consists of broken stones, chisels and dust, but of scanning, point clouds and design."
Unsurprisingly, not everybody is happy with robots taking over the craft, arguing that something important could be lost in the process of modernizing processes with new technologies.
"We risk forgetting how to work with our hands," Florence Cathedral sculptor Lorenzo Calcinai told CBS. "I hope that a certain knowhow and knowledge will always remain, although the more we go forward, the harder it will be to preserve it."
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