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« It's Mensa* Time! Widget | Main | Speaking of robots... »

Argobot has left the building

Argobot has left the building

Hailed from Toronto Canada via New York, Mark Argo, handle: Argobot, is the first of the Robot Guy trio to have left the building. Daniel, Mark, and myself comprise the Robot Guy trio as we came to visit Fabrica after finishing an exhibition of robots. Then we found our way here, thinking that there were robots to be made, but Fabrica didn't really need any more robots as we would soon discover -- everybody here is a robot, one way or another. And then no one called us the Robot Guy anymore.

Mark left his marks (har har) amongst the Fabricanti for running an irreplacable server that saved us from being bored to tears on a normal night in Treviso. Besides "that-cellphone-upload-picture-frame-thing", He also has a full array of gadgets he created here at Fabrica, check them out here.

mark has left the building
Mark "Marktyler" Argo, Interactive Department, March 2005 - September 2006

What did you do before coming to Fabrica?
Build robots and eat mexican food.

But seriously, after graduating from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Department in New York I went with two fellow talented artists to Nice, France to do a gallery installation involving Robots. The project -- called 'Nicebots' -- had us build almost 30 robots by-hand. Our studio / robot-lab was in the gallery space allowing museum patrons to walk in and observe our work, ask questions and even help out. After we created a Nicebot we let it go and live in the adjacent gallery space, occasionally tweaking its programming/personality so you could watch the small robot community evolve. It was one of the most rewarding and education experienced i've ever had.

And then came Fabrica.

What's the plan now?
Well, assuming things calm down politically I'll be heading to Thailand to work on interactives for NDMI - a new museum in downtown Bangkok. I'm also going to be researching my next major installation to be hosted in Toronto next summer. It's highly inspired by my experience with Nicebots, but will involve me creating consumer electronics instead of robots. It's pretty much my dream project, so I'm quite excited.

Your most priceless accomplishment from the experience here:
Back in the day, when I was deciding whether or not to come to Fabrica, I rationalized it as so:

I had just finished school. I wanted to keep my creative momentum going. I had no desire to *work* again. I wanted to travel and be inspired.

In the end I understood that I had no clue what the next step for me was going to be, but I figured that getting paid to live in the tranquility of rural Italy would be a good place to sort that out, and that by the end I would at least have a better idea of where to go. Fabrica has delivered just that.

I have been able to slow down my pace and observe, which is critical after several years of being in the intense environment of New York. At the same time I did something I've never tried before, and that's to focus all my attention on one project - slowly crafting the idea into something i like. As a result 'Commpose' -- the bluetooth uploading thing -- has been installed in three continents, has received several offers for future installations, and will soon have an academic paper published. For that I've got to thank the support of Fabrica, especially Andy Cameron who really helped back the concept.

Your favorite part about living in Treviso:
I think Treviso has a lot of charms, but also a lot of frustrations for the kid who has only living in major city centers all his life. It's picturesque and welcoming. I'll always remember the feeling of coming back to Treviso from New York, Toronto or anywhere else, and feeling the tranquility and security that these people enjoy. Walking at night with my suitcase through a desolate parking lot and not having to keep my eye open for crooks. Sometimes I don't think they realize how good they've got it.

There's also the people. My Dad used to always extol the virtues of Italians from his days as a backpacker in Europe. And I've got to agree with him. Italians are generally warm and happy people who overflow with energy and look incredible. They live life the way they want to, and flaunt some version of logic and order that I think is beyond the capacity of most foreigners.

Oh yeah, and the food (of course).

Your least favorite part about living in Treviso
The bubble. I need to escape the bubble. We all know it's not real - but it feels so comfortable. This is what virtual reality is going to feel like in the future.

Any last words for the Fabricanti?
Geez. Tough to say.

Travel as much as possible. Bologna is close and fun. Amsterdam is fairly cheap and really fun. Milan is great during Design Week. Rome and Florence cannot be missed. Rent a car and drive through the country. Stay at an Agriturismo in Tuscany. Take a train to Lubijana. To to the museums in Vienna. Drive through Switzerland. The list goes on and on. You'll never be this carefree in Europe again.

Most importantly, don't lose focus on your own work or doing what will make you happy. Fabrica needs you just as much as you need them, and they owe you a pleasant balance between their projects and your artistic development. If you can't learn, then they can't call themselves an educational institution. Raise your voice if you have to, but be reasonable. You should be able to leave this place with a nice portfolio of great work, and confidence in your creative ambitions.


Originally from
ReBlogged by ann p on Sep 21, 2006 at 08:50 PM Posted by ann p on Sep 21, 2006 at 08:50 PM


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