Robot Pride Day 2013 – Mean Robots, Nice Robots and Simple Robots

While 2013 saw ever more robot-themed stories, from Guillermo del Toro’s “Pacific Rim” to Marvel’s “The Wolverine,” the real world of robots was perhaps even more frightening. PRISM was the public face of a massive self-surveillance operation already going on for over a decade, however people continued to use Facebook more than ever, despite the fact that it is now a publicly traded company. The Pentagon started talking about deploying robots on battlefields, and even giving them the ability/right to make their own decisions, including using the killswitch ((What Could Possibly Go Wrong? – Daily Mail UK)). Of course this violates Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, which often we may have believed was some sort of bulletproof insurance against things ever getting out of hand.

Frank Langella in Robot & Frank from Park Pictures, Dog Run Pictures, 2012

Frank Langella in Robot & Frank from Park Pictures, Dog Run Pictures, 2012

Oh yeah, and the drones. Drones in Asian countries, drones in the Middle East, drones on American soil. Drones were used to hunt fugitive Chris Dorner when he escaped into Big Bear Mountain, and Rupert Murdoch has his own drone being checked out by the FAA.

The bottom line is, robots are not just coming, they are here, and they are starting to be used for some pretty…interesting stuff.

Of course there were also happy robot stories, like the one in the movie Robot & Frank, a truly heartwarming heist movie featuring an Asimo companion. These sorts of robots are being used more and more in fact to help care for the elderly and those in need of companionship. The movie does a marvelous job of depicting the resistance and ultimately acceptance of such a possibility.

Douglas Rushkoff published a terrific book called Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now
that talks about how when we are all plugged in, all the time, we develop a disability to actual be present in the moment, that we are in fact always telecasting ourselves to some other place, reporting on our whereabouts and goings on, but seldom actually processing what we are in the midst of. Jaron Lanier published a book with similar sensibilities several years prior called You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto (Vintage). I recommend reading both.

But Robot Pride Day is about us. You and me. And how we are human. And what is beautiful about our humanity. So while we consider the changes going on in our lives, let’s also remember to unplug every once in a while and just look the stars.

Here is another way to look at it:

A Simple Robot

words and music by Keram

I built a robot,
A simple robot
that kinda looks like me
It’s not expensive
And can’t shoot lasers
But makes good company

I made a robot from broken items
I found out on the streets,
It’s hooked on phonics
And doing yoga
And making peppermint tea

I built a robot,
A simple robot,
To keep me company
It doesn’t play games
But likes to listen
And never disagrees…

I made a robot,
A simple robot
That kinda looks like me
I did some tweaking
To make him better
Than I will ever be.

I have a robot
Who knows that true love
Comes unconditionally,
It’s really simple
But it serves its purpose
And that’s enough
For me.

Be good out there Sky Pirates,
Happy RPD 2013
G-Lightflash and the Constant Change Crew

Blabdroid claims all-robot film crew makes a documentary about humans | via TechHive

Tribeca film festival features a documentary project that aims to be “the world’s first documentary shot and directed entirely by robots.”

Quite a statement.

Of course in this case humans put them in place to do so, thus until they conceive of it of their own volition, we challenge this boast somewhat.

What the project really is is one that harnesses the power of a surrogate with which to share emotions with impunity in much the same way that children often comminicate more openly with puppets and stuffed toys.

Learn more about project Blabdroid below:

RPD 2012 Missive + Blue Dog Pict plays “Robot Pride Day” live – only existing recording

Dear friends:

Happy Robot Pride Day 2012! The Sky Pirates, who celebrate and recognize RPD every year comprise a network of human beings that was created to bring us all closer together, to share our talents and ideas and mutually support one another.

RPD is placeholder to remind ourselves of our humanity and sense of wonder and respect for the incredible universe of which we are a part. To jostle us out of the stupor of industrialization. Never has this been more important than now, as we are progressively and excessively battered about by digital media with too often aims of controlling our feelings, thoughts and perceptions.

Every year we add another small piece to the puzzle and this year we go back in time to the very origins of the annual celebration of this idea.

For Robot Pride Day 2012 – Constant Change has made available, for the first time ever, a recently unearthed video and audio recording of Blue Dog Pict playing the instrumental track that inspired the RPD movement defined in its very titled – “Robot Pride Day”.

Recorded at the Opera House in Toronto, presumably by then budding video director Rob Heydon, this exclusive clip captures a slightly blurry version of one of BDP’s best musical moments.

Details of interest about this video:

What is interesting, and that can only now be remembered in writing are the things also happening off screen:

At one point the camera zooms away to what is in fact a two-storey high Cabaret damsel puppet being controlled by four professional puppeteers, two on the ground level operating the arms and two in the balcony operating the head! (As we recall they were Jason Hopley, Vanessa Malicki-Sanchez, Jamie Shannon, Natalie Bourdeau).

Meanwhile on stage there are various saloon tables and bails of hay, populated by other puppets. The theme of the show, you see, was “The Dead Dog Saloon”.

The barkeep is played by then budding actress Kate Kelton. The band members are all dressed as Sherrifs and outlaws and the video even includes a showdown that took place at the end of the performance.

Above the band, also off-screen, was a jumbo video projection of Survival Research Laboratories’ underground robot wars that used to take place in the Nevada desert.

This is also the song whose lyrics became such a staple of the Constant Change movement:

“My daddy build robots,
We don’t tell anyone,
They have come to life.
Come. To. Life.”

This last line is the title of lead singer/songerwriter Keram’s 2012 album release, some 15 years later.

We hope you enjoy this special treat for RPD 2012.


Blue Dog Pict members included:
Keram Malicki-Sanchez – vocals, guitar
Keith White – bass, vocals
Danny Kovacevic – guitars, vocals
Jeff Hayward – drums
Josh Joudrie – sound mixer / FOH
David Buchanan – lighting / management
Bryan Pickell – management

Video footage courtesy Rob Heydon
Edited by Keram Malicki-Sanchez
Song by Blue Dog Pict (SOCAN/ASCAP)

Jason Hopley
Vanessa Malicki-Sanchez
Natalie Bourdeau

Onstage actors / puppeteers:
Jamie Shannon
Kate Kelton

Thanks to all the real Sky Pirates, then and now, for keeping the flame of hope burning forevermore. Wave your freak flag high.

~ G-Lightflash 08-04-2012