The robot in the above video, created by Japanese artist and technologist Akira Hayasaka, takes street sign poles–among the most bland, unremarkable objects in the urban landscape–and beautifies them with spirals of color. While the end product itself isn’t anything jaw-dropping, the concept–using robotics in the service of street art–is wonderful. Imagine if you could operate these things from afar, like a graffiti drone?
To operate the unit, Hayasaka simply affixes it to a pole, then uses a remote controller to direct it up and down, and markers embedded in the body draw lines as it travels.
Hayasaka sees his art as a way to take back public space. “I do not aim to break the law in any sense, and I do not want to,” he told the Atlantic Cities. “My purposes are to show that I (and we) have potentially plenty [of] power to reclaim the streets, and to resist tasteless urban gentrification/purification which always chokes me.”