Papp

Papp

Hilde & Bård Tørdal | 2010

papp, |pap|
noun
norwegian word for cardboard or carton (from lat. pappare ‘eat’ porridge, papp as the porridge which paper and carton is made of)

card•board |’kärd,bôrd|
noun
pasteboard or stiff paper : [as adj. ] a cardboard box.
• [as adj. ] (of a character in a literary work)
lacking depth and realism; artificial : “with its superficial, cardboard characters, the novel was typical of her work.”

Concept

Papp is a small robot programmed to hide in a cardboard box.

Papp is a concept we redeveloped from our first autonomous robot sculpture, Mu. This older robot (2001)  was a slapdash thing constructed in our studio over a weekend. A small creature, made of scraps of wood, an old umbrella, ping pong balls, wheels, skateboard ball bearings, plywood and some pieced-together electronics. The robot worked flawlessly, hiding in its box and weaving between the legs of the audience at the opening night of its first exhibition, but it was put in storage for seven years before we picked up the idea again.

The creature inside is never seen apart from the eyes. A box is the classic camouflage for someone trying to hide, we never get to know who these creatures are; the only things visible are the wide open eyes searching from side to side as the robot scurries from one place to the next.

Papp evokes sympathy or scorn and the instinct of the audience is to either help or hinder the little robot. There may be many reasons for trying to hide, which can be more or less serious. Papp gives no answers but functions as a blank canvas, an electromechanical representation of the need to disappear and blend in.

We invited ten artists to interpret the first series of Papp and they gave their design or artwork to the project. As a part of the exhibition, we held Papp workshops with the visitors and especially children from kindergarden to schools and colleges.

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