the workshop build a robot – be a robot is the result of a cooperation with ralf schreiber and cordula körber. it pushes and combines the idea of active learning, by building a robot yourself, to the idea of active learning by becoming a robot. the first workshop was made possible with support from the sk-stiftung kultur and took place in the moltkerei in cologne in 2009. the second workshop took place in 2011 as part of the clubtransmediale festival at the hebbel am ufer in berlin. as documentation for the first workshop we created a small zine teenagebots#1.
build a robot – be a robot is an exploration of robotics with all your senses. first you solder and tinker your own minimal robot, that you design to give it a personal touch. with the help of the overheadprojector your robot becomes magnified to human scale and you can play with the shadow of its body. we go on soldering more complex robots such as autonomous braitenberg vehicles or autonomous sound generators based on ralf’s solar sound modules. in a second step you build a costume for yourself that picks up design elements of your previously created robot. the costume is enhanced with simple sensors for example with robotic goggles, that allow you to find a bright spot in the environment with just two leds inside the goggles. in a third step you explore what makes robots behave by following simple instructions that you execute with your body. for example: rotate on the spot until you hit a resistance then change rotation direction; your right arm follows the left arm of your neighbour, but it falls down slowly. your left arm does the opposite movement of your right arm but it moves very fast. when you execute these instructions alone nothing interesting happens, but when you are connected to people interesting patterns emerge. for example the second instructions set leads to a rhythm when two or more people are conncted in a circle. the workshops ends in a grand finale with a performance by the participants.