Oregon artist Michael Salter, creator of Styrobot Robots: A Cultural Icon in Contemporary Art
August 22 – December 18, 2009

In 1920, the term robot was coined from a Czech word robota, which meant tedious labor. Since then, the image and the idea of a robot have evolved remarkably from an awkward, mechanical creature to a sophisticated android with artifi cial intelligence and the potential for human-like consciousness. This exhibition is a selection of robot imagery in fine art during the past 15 years. As robotic technology catches up with the wild imagination of science fiction novels, movies, and animation, dreams and fears anticipated in these stories may also become reality. Artists included in the exhibition have responded to the technological innovation with optimism, pessimism, and humor, presenting work that ultimately explores the pros and cons we feel about robots.

Included in the exhibition is a 13-foot-tall Styrobot by Oregon artist Michael Salter (pictured at left) that he assembled in the Ulrich Museum galleries on Wednesday, August 19.

This exhibition was organzed by the San Jose Museum of Art and is generously supported by:

Spirit AeroSystems, corporate sponsor of 'Aircraft: The Jet as Art by Jeffrey Milstein'

Watch below as he created a 21-foot-tall Styrobot to stand guard at the San Jose Museum of Art:

Programs and Events

All programs and events are free and open to the public unless noted otherwise.

Transformers, the Movie, 2007AUGUST
Duerksen Fine Arts Center Amphitheatre, WSU campus
Summer’s not over yet. Enjoy watermelon and popcorn under the stars during a showing of the 2007 hit movie Transformers, starring Shia LaBeouf. Earth becomes the battleground as the Autobots and Decepticons wage war. Show off your knowledge of pop culture robot movies at the Ulrich Museum booth and enter a drawing for a free iPod Shuffle. This is a WSU Welcomefest event. Sponsored by the WSU Student Activities Council and the Ulrich Museum.

Wall-E movie photoSATURDAY, AUGUST 29, 11 A.M.-3 P.M.
FAMILY FUN DAY: An Adventure Beyond the Ordinar-E
WSU Campus Activities Center Theatre and the Ulrich Museum
Family fun begins at 11 a.m. at the CAC Theatre with a screening of the Disney favorite movie Wall-E. Join Wall-E and his new friend Eve as they race through the galaxy to save planet Earth before it's too late. After the movie, join your friends on the new McKnight Art Center plaza at the Ulrich Museum for kid-friendly snacks and refreshments. Check out the robot exhibition at the Ulrich Museum, play robot games, enjoy robot stories and create your own robot to take home. Galleries open early at 11 a.m. Sponsored by the WSU Student Activities Council Family Committee and the Ulrich Museum.

Jet As Art Opening PartySEPTEMBER
Join Ulrich Museum members for an evening of art, food, drink, and great company to celebrate the new fall exhibitions. Meet and mingle with friends, test your knowledge of robots in pop culture and see robotic competitors strut their robot stuff. Admission is free for WSU students and Ulrich Museum members; $7 for general public. To make a reservation, call (316) 978-3664 or e-mail ulrich@wichita.edu.

Oregon artist Michael Salter, creator of Styrobot, 2009THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 24, 6 P.M.
ARTIST TALK: Michael Salter
210 McKnight Art Center West, School of Art and Design, WSU campus
Robots exhibition artist Michael Salter constructs giant Styrobot sculptures from recycled polystyrene commonly used for shipping electronics. Reassembled into a robot, these materials once used to protect fragile technological objects take the form of a mechanical creature that could destroy anything in its path. Hear Salter speak about his Styrobot installation for the Ulrich. He will discuss the trajectory of his compelling artistic practice. Salter is associate professor of digital arts at the University of Oregon.

Eric Joyner, 'What We Ought Not, We Do,' 2006. Oil on wood panel, 48 x 64 inches. Collection of Mark Holt, Photograph Eric Joyner and the Shooting Gallery, San FranciscoOCTOBER
GAMING TOURNAMENT: Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots
WSU Rhatigan Student Center Shocker Square
Red Rocker and Blue Bomber return in the classic Mattel game of the last half of the 20th century—Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots! Opponents square off their plastic robots in an effort to hit, punch, stun, and wallop their adversary into submission. Gamers compete for a free iPod shuffle. Sign up at noon Wednesday, October 7 in the RSC's Shocker Square or at the tournament on Friday, October 9. Sponsored by the WSU Student Activities Council and the Ulrich Museum.

CyberKnife from Via Christi Cancer CenterTHURSDAY, OCTOBER 29, 6 P.M.
Machines Saving Lives in Wichita
210 McKnight Art Center West, School of Art and Design, WSU campus
Robotics continues to improve the quality of our lives with recent advances in medical practice. An advanced robot that treats cancerous tumors, the CyberKnife is an excellent example. Dr. Joseph Kelley, Via Christi Cancer Center radiation oncologist, explains how this extraordinary technology makes it possible for cancer patients to return to full health.

Dr. Kelley holds an M.D. and Ph.D. in molecular biology. While at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, he developed an interest in stereotactic radiation therapy and the treatment of cancer. He recently joined the faculty at the Wichita Via Christi Cancer Center.

Lee Gutkind, author of 2007 book 'Almost Human: Making Robots Think'NOVEMBER
Almost Human: Making Robots Think
210 McKnight Art Center West, School of Art and Design, WSU campus

Robots have progressed since the first model in 1961: The Unimate. Science fiction provided a vision of what a futurist robot would be like through Maria in the 1927 film Metropolis to Rosie in 1960s TV cartoon The Jetsons and even the more lovable Wall-E, C-3PO and R2D2 or the sinister Terminator.

But what are the robots of the 21st century really like? Who is constructing them? What are their jobs? Enter the cutting-edge integration of robots into everyday human life, the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon Institute. Almost Human: Making Robots Think, a 2007 book by Lee Gutkind, documents six years observing young roboticists and their bold conceptual machines from Pittsburgh to NASA to the most barren desert on Earth. He makes intelligible the scientists’ quests, discoveries, stumbling points, and stunning achievements. Join Gutkind as he shares insight into the experience of those who are ushering in a new age of thinking robots in intelligent manufacturing, autonomous vehicles, space-related robots, nano-machines, computer vision and graphics, and anthropomorphic robots.

Author, journalist, documentary filmmaker, consulting NPR editor, and founder and editor of the groundbreaking literary magazine Creative Nonfiction, Gutkind has placed himself in diverse situations researching dozens of books, profiles, essays and anthologies. Gutkind is the former director of the writing program at the University of Pittsburgh and its special MFA degree in creative nonfiction.

SENIOR WEDNESDAY: Robot--Friend or Foe?
From novel to movie, the robot has been portrayed as both friend and foe, adjusting to the needs and priorities of its human creators. Examine these roles and more through the exhibition Robots: A Cultural Icon in Contemporary Art.

Jason Opat of Integrated Media Group in WichitaTHURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 6 P.M.
Robots in the Public Sphere—Then, Today, and Tomorrow
210 McKnight Art Center West, School of Art and Design, WSU campus
Robots and robotics were first imagined as aides for human tasks. Jason Opat absolutely knows robots in today's public sphere. He has contributed to Hollywood films Transformers, Iron Man, and more. His Wichita company is now creating the film-like robots of the future--illusionary helpers to navigate commercial spaces. Yet, how will the interface between us and them work? Opat's talk will review key robots from the silver screen and then give us a vision of the future by demonstrating his gesture-recognition humanoid helpers. Opat is chair of the Kansas Film Commission and visionary owner at Integrated Media Group in Wichita.

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