2. There is a “Robotic Church” in a former Norwegian Seamans Church

Robotic Church in Red Hook, interior space with benches

Inside the former Norwegian Seamans Church in Red Hook is a site-specific installation and workshop called the Robotic Church, which functions as the workshop for Amorphic Robotic Works. The ARW is a collective of artists, engineers, technicians, and programmers founded by Chico MacMurtie, who is known for his large-scale kinetic sculptures. In the Robotic Church, 50 “humanoid performers” are positioned throughout the former church nave with a control tower up top. The computer-controlled pneumatic sculptures express themselves through rhythm and body language, programmed to beat, strum, vibrate, spin, and play their own bodies.

The collection traces the evolution of MacMurtrie’s first robotic sculptures from the late 1980s, including “Tumbling Man” and “Drumming and Drawing Subhuman,” to advanced ones with more refined movements such as “Urge to Stand” and “Transparent Body.” These 50 are part of MacMurtrie’s/ARW’s “Society of Machines,” which comprises over 250 individual sculptures. The robots range in size from twelve inches to fifteen feet. The Brooklyn studio is also where works are developed, including Border Crossers, lightweight robotic sculptures that can extend over borders including the U.S-Mexico border.