January 18, 2019
Philadelphia meet Bebot, a 33-foot-tall, 13,000-pound robot sculpture that's taking up residence in Northern Liberties along Germantown Ave. and is the latest public art installation in a city famous for the Love statute.
Bebot is the work of London-based installation artist Andrea Greenlees. “Conceptually the artwork explores the use of calculated cuteness and emotional engineering in robot design," said Greenlees. "Cuteness triggers in us a desire to approach and engage with the cute object and even, potentially, to care for it.”
Designed by Josh Haywood of the Hylemo creative agency and fabricated in Reno, Nevada by Andy Tibbetts of Lost Machine Design LLC, Bebot was an interactive installation at the recent Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert. Afterwards, Bebot was in storage for a few months before making the journey across the U.S. in three large tractor-trailer trucks.
“The mere fact that he’s waving and greeting shows it’s an endearing piece, reaching out to you. I hope people take it to their hearts," said Greenlees "I would love for it to become a destination in the city of Philadelphia. The sweetness of Bebot tugs at the heartstrings and people can’t help but feel friendly and warmly towards it. However the ‘Sting in the Tail,’ Bebot’s little devil tail, is intended to give us pause for thought."
There is a small crew on site this week in Philadelphia to bring Bebot to life. This installation is one aspect of a larger, unannounced project that is in the works. Stay tunes for more details in the following weeks.
For now, here are some photos: