Michigan artist creates border crossing robotic sculpture
Feb. 25, 2018
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — An artist at the University of Michigan has created a 40-foot robotic sculpture that explores the idea of borders and boundary conditions.
Chico MacMurtrie unveiled the "Border Crossers" statue outside the university's Museum of Art on Feb. 16, the Ann Arbor News reported.
The robot can reach up several stories high, arc over a barrier and bend down to touch the other side. The piece embodies the curiosity of wanting to see what lies on the other side of a border and expresses the desire to live in a world without borders, the university said.
MacMurtrie has been working on the project with 16 students from the university's art and design, engineering, information and Literature, Science and the Arts programs though an art residency sponsored by the Institute for the Humanities.
MacMurtrie said his experiences growing up in Naco, Arizona, have greatly influenced his work.
"So much has changed in my lifetime — I remember people coming and going across the border through a hole in a fence," MacMurtrie said. "The border is now fortified, which is kind of senseless and counter-humane in my opinion."
This sculpture is the second in what MacMurtrie hopes to be a total of six robots that will be placed at international borders.
"I've always envisioned the Mexico-U.S. border as a performance site, but there are many borders that this artwork could connect," MacMurtrie said. "The robots, to me, represent a peaceful gesture to both start a conversation and to unify people."