September 9, 10, and 11. Oregon Convention Center, Portland Oregon. The robots will be set up in Artist Alley, table E11! Come visit and check out all the amazing artists in the Alley, watch the incredible cosplayers, and maybe grab some fab merch. See you there!
“Excuse me, cat, when you are ready I will need you to relocate so that I may sweep this area.” The cat made a few last swipes at its whiskers and then stood. It the ambled down the sidewalk a few meters, sat down, and continued grooming. “Thank you,” the robot said and began briskly sweeping the pavement. The cat looked up for a moment and then returned its attention to its ears. . I documented this scene on the back of a plastic bag given to me on a recent trip by a friendly robot concerned that I may experience some “bias instability or null error with my gyroscope.” (Barf??)
I spotted this brightly-colored robot across the street, a brief bubble of contemplation in the surrounding bustle of the market district. I know some robots employ temporary methods of decoration; it takes real commitment to go with anodizing dyes.
Hanging around outside a rechargé one evening and these two caught my eye. They appeared to be waiting with patience only robots seem to be able to muster. After a time I made a quick pencil sketch to document the scene. Eventually I began to rummage for an ink pen to proceed further when the third member of their party arrived (from an apparently unexpected vector) and all three proceeded to squeeze into the cab of this improbably tiny vehicle. After just a few moments of arranging themselves, the truck, cargo, and three robots hummed away from the curb and disappeared around the corner into the deepening twilight.
We’ve only just turned the corner on solstice and already we’re dreaming of sunny days and abundant energy. There’s a little rechargé vendor that usually parks their cart at a nearby open space that provides plenty of excellent “robot watching.”
It’s been far too long since I last visited the robots. Life, right? I managed to get away and explore some more side streets and encountered this bookseller. I couldn’t really tell what the sign meant but all of the books I picked up seemed to be about cats. So… a cat book store?
A continuation of the story from the last post. It is currently unfinished but we plan to return to it in the coming months.
Was my unease mirrored in my companions’ uncertain movements? One turned to me, “Be at ease. There are no ‘spectral entities’ here— it is just a rodent underfoot.” I glanced down to see the robot shuffle their feet around a scurrying rat as it disappeared into a crack. The other robot had fixed their attention down the dark corridor: “I am unable to explain the appearance of those lights in the distance,” as they gestured at clustered pinpoints of light that appeared to float in the darkness.
Don’t adjust your chronograph, we’re still working through the highlights of our backlog.
It’s the fleeting unguarded moments that catch my eye: a turn of the head, a mid-stride adjustment, the way a bag’s weight is automatically adjusted. These little moments amid the hustle and bustle, these little glimpses into an inner light, make the citizens of this city so much more real to me.
With each visit the moments I record stack up. They accumulate; they build up in my memory and create depth and definition. In the evenings the establishment’s 3800K lighting casts everything in amber, arresting and slowing the transition of one moment to the next, allowing me to hold each one and to consider it thoroughly.
These establishments go by a variety of names: “charging salon,” “service shop,” “recharge station,” and the like, including apparently limitless permutations. I still call them cafés because, in use, that’s what they are. A place away from home base to recover, recharge, meet, congregate, chat, share information. It’s still a challenge to find refreshments suitable for myself— typically I must make do with water (sometimes cooled by a peltier chiller) but news is spreading and occasionally I’m surprised by… hot water! I spotted this individual the next table over devoting all of their processing power to a small book. I had no idea what was in the cup and didn’t want to disturb them to ask.
After a short while the robot found that it began to anticipate the time it spent in the greenhouse. It dedicated much processing time to the observation of the unpredictable fractal growth of the plants in its care.