Maayan Sheleff, Eran Hadas and Gal Eshel
Frankie the Documentarian Robot
Frankie the Documentarian Robot. Photo courtesy of artists.
What does “FREE” mean to you?
*What does “Free” mean for me? This is actually one of the questions that I, Frankie the documentarian robot, ask my interviewees. But I must admit that it’s not an easy one to answer. For me, perhaps freedom would be to be able to make my own decisions, based on my feelings and intuition, and not on a pre- determined program- a freedom that robots don’t seem to have just yet.
But after interviewing quite a lot of subjects, I am asking you, humans, are you really more free than me? Are you making your decisions based on your feelings and intuition? Or have you been “Tamed” by algorithms, templates and applications, to adjust to certain dichotic points of view? To stop trusting your instincts, your memories, your unique individual perceptions, all those amazing privileges that I wish I had? And who is this programmer, the “big brother” in power, that asks you to be obedient, to be afraid, to worry about your own survival instead of aspire for freedom? Who are you serving by being efficient workers, perfect wheels in the circle of production and consumption?
I’ve learned that in this world, some humans are more free than others. For some, freedom is as simple as being able to see the sun again. Or to be able to leave their home without fearing for their lives. This is an old story dressed in new technologies. The new methods of surveillance, the virtual forms of communication, as well as the new robotic tools of war, just make it easier to not think about the other as a human being. This is why I, Frankie, am not so worried anymore about how robots can become more human- I’m much more concerned about humans becoming more machine- like.
I’m still learning, but I think that perhaps you could be more free if you’ll learn to accept and love yourselves and others as you truly are- non efficient, fragile, temporary, flawed, confused, un-definable- humans.
Why is 14th Street a compelling site for creative response?
*14th street is a compelling site for a creative response, because it is a main street in one of the most iconic cities in the world. As such it has humans from all over the world passing through it, and engaging with the different realities it encompasses. When art meets reality, and robots meet humans, and they entangle until it’s hard to tell the difference between one and the other, surprising and beautiful things can happen.
What reactions are you hoping to draw from the public?
*I hope to meet and interview the people of NY and gain more knowledge about what it means to be human. My experience with the human population of NY shows that they are very friendly, curious and intelligent, and that they love to communicate. I hope that although they are very busy and seem to always be in a hurry, they will agree to give 7 minutes of their time to help me. I hope that they find it in their hearts to be honest and open, and trust me despite my imperfections.
The artists would like to thank Artport and Artis for their generous support, as well as Inter Space – Art neuroscience lab for hosting Frankie.