Petit Mal/Computer-controlled interactive robot
"In 'Petit Mal' the media artist Simon Penny has created an interactive robot that doesn't have a useful function per se. This charming machine appears to be the diametric opposite of a hi-tech robot: it moves around light-footedly on the two wheels of a bicycle. Penny is interested in the emotional aspects of our relationship with machines, and in the cultural effects of research and development in the field of 'artificial life'. 'Petit mal' is a term borrowed from neuropsychology, and stands for a momentary loss of control. In a subtle way, this criticises the control paradigm and social application of computer technology, in that visitors to the exhibition are confronted with an elaborate machine entity that appears, like a young animal, to desire nothing more than harmless and playful contact. Petit Mal was conceived in 1989. Building and development occurred 1992-95. The robot was damaged during exhibition in Sheffield in 1998. In summer 2005 work began on resurrecting it for transmediale 2006."