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2004 - Nice, France

Nicebots at MAMAC
“Nicebots” exhibition at MAMAC (Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain)

Conceived and Developed with Daniel Hirschmann and Jean-Marc Gauthier.

An Open Studio

“Nicebots” is a one-month long open studio exhibit, showcasing the construction and design of interactive robots. During the exhibition, the artists transform the gallery space into a working studio where the audience is able to observe and learn how the bots are built and interact with them in their space. The open studio format allows for dynamic changes throughout the exhibition. By observing the audience's interaction with the bots and the effects the bots have on the audience, we are able to make adjustments and “teach” the bots different behaviors. During the one month exhibition, the bots begin as infants, having only basic motor and sensor controls. As the show develops, additional bots will be built and their “brains” will evolve with our guidance. Unique behaviors will emerge giving each robot their personality.

An audience at Nicebots show  
The ‘open studio’ concept involves the audience in the exhibition.

Technology made Simply

The “Nicebots” are electronic handicrafts, constructed almost entirely by hand using available hobby materials with the exception of circuit board fabrication and laser-cut wood pieces. Designed to be of the same species, each bot contains the same basic components that make up the body anatomy.

customized circuit boards  
Raw materials of the “Nicebots” - Circuit boards and laser-cut wood.

Unique Personalities

The components fit together in a rectangular box that makes up the body of the bot. Each bot is programmed with the same sensor and motor controls, but slightly different logic to give the bot unique personality. The bots are completely autonomous and “grow” throughout the exhibition. Over time, we reprogrammed them to make wiser decisions when hitting a wall or trying to get out of a corner. The magnet sensor enable the bots to sense each other and interact with a “magic wand”—magnet on a stick held by the audience.

3 different nicebotsEach of the “Nicebots” has similar components, but has a different personality.
Christo botWrapped “Nicebots” as an ode to Nicoise artist Christo.

Documentation Video

Additional photos and information can be found at Nicebots’website


The Nicebots project is made possible by generous support from Tourisme et des Congrès de Nice, Culturelles de la ville de Nice, Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, and Villa Arson.

Thanks to: Thierry MARTIN, Directeur central des affaires culturelles de la ville de Nice. Gilbert PERLEIN, Conservateur en chef du Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain de Nice. Bernard MOREL, Directeur général de l’Office du Tourisme et des Congrès de Nice. Jean-Claude CHEDAL, Directeur de la Ville Arson de Nice. At Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, Dean Pari Shirazi, Professor Arnie Baskin, Film Department. Annie Stanton, Administrative Director, Office of Special Programs, and everyone who helped with this project at ITP.

Special Thanks to Jeffrey Barry and Philip Galanter, Isabelle Anaya Gauthier and Fabien Bariti.