1967 – MATE for R.O.S.A.B.O.S.O.M. – Bruce Lacey (British)

From: Cybernetic Serendipity : The computer and the arts. Studio International special issue 2nd Ed revised  Sep. 1968

Bruce Lacey – Mate  1967

Electronic parts, aluminium, batteries, motors, etc.
24 X 24 X 72 in.
Built as a companion to R.O.S.A., which it follows automatically and generally interacts with. Using ultrasonics, infra-red and sonic signals.

I've include MATE in the category of "Cybernetic Animals" and not ROSA as ROSA was radio-controlled and programmed, but MATE was "tuned" to ROSA and reacted to her signals independant of ROSA's remote control. However, they did need to operate as a "pair".

There is a video clip showing MATE interacting with ROSA. It is an interesting clip in that, other than a clip showing Schoffer's CYSP-1, shows other elements of Cybernetic Serendipity (1968), including Gordon Pask's "Colloquy of Mobiles", Edward Ihnatowicz' SAM, amongst others. It is found here, but you need to create an account first (no payment required to see preview) and search for "ACCIDENTAL ART".

There is a second video clip of Bruce, ROSA and MATE that I know of. When I obtain a copy from Bruce I will add it to youtube.

Further description on the interaction of ROSA and MATE based on notes I made during my 2009  visit.

MATE automatically follows ROSA when he detects her. They operate as a pair, and Bruce remotely operates ROSA in the event space. MATE travels around in circles until he picks up a ultrasonic signal sent by ROSA.  This can only be achieved if Bruce directs ROSA towards MATE, then drives her around so MATE then faces her back. When these conditions are met, the ultrasonic signal being sent behind ROSA will be picked up by MATE and he will follow her. If Bruce drives ROSA to the left, MATE will follow in the same direction. Bruce has designed MATE to be faster than ROSA and so he can 'catch' her. As he gets closer to ROSA  his infrared beam is activated, and ROSA has a corresponding detector. As he gets still closer, ROSA emits a scream from a tape-recorder stored within her body. MATE has a voice operated switch activated by the scream, and changes direction to avoid contact with her. If, however, the avoidance action doesn't quite work and they contact, Bruce installed contact switches on ROSA, and when activated (by MATE), she blows confetti everywhere. Bruce goes on to explain that after the courtship, the confetti is symbolic of ROSA and MATE being married.

All that remains of Mate, the Cybernetic Serendipity name-plate. Parts of Mate found their way into other Bruce Lacey assemblages and contraptions. 

The author, Reuben Hoggett with Bruce Lacey and ROSA BOSOM [June 2009].

Period photo of ROSA BOSOM. See a separate post on her here.

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2 Responses to “1967 – MATE for R.O.S.A.B.O.S.O.M. – Bruce Lacey (British)”

  1. Ghosts in the media art machine « Squares of Wheat Says:

    […] hall are ‘Kinetic Masters’ including work by Jasia Reichardt and Jean Tinguely, Bruce Lacey’s R.O.S.A. B.O.S.O.M. robot from the ICA’s Cybernetic Serendipity, and a Liliane Lijn poem machine, Get Rid of […]

  2. David Says: