The late afternoon sun angled in through the window, lighting up the inside of the cafe with an intense glow. “May I draw you?” I asked the robot seated across the aisle from me. “You may,” it replied. After about 30 seconds it stood up and turned towards me. “Exit zero?” It then pivoted neatly and made its way to the door. I was able to quickly finish from memory. “Exit zero” I suppose.
I’ve fallen out of my regular cadence of drawing the robots. I went along on a hike with this one, and during a pause I asked if it wouldn’t mind standing still for just a minute. Using primarily the chisel bibs of my markers I sketched out a portrait as quickly as I could. Like stretching out limbs after a long roadtrip, it felt good to draw again, and a little awkward.
A robot, in the moment. Sometimes they’ll stand around, motionless, for minutes at a time. I used to wonder if they’d experienced a software crash but the accelerating hum of their fans lets me know that they’re just doing some serious thinking…
While they are certainly capable of constructing abstractions of their own, the robots seem to enjoy being the subjects of my drawings. “One day you’ll have to draw me,” I say. The robots look at me without saying anything. Are they gathering data? Mapping the surface of my face? Only time will tell.