The MFA Design program at SVA is in a constant state of flux. They tweak the courseload with each incoming group of students to such a varying degree that we have classes our second year counterparts didn't, some mandatory courses they had the option of taking and classes that we all have in common but which are now twice as long as they've been in the past.
One such class, Design for 3-Dimensions, which is now mandatory, is an attempt to get us out from behind the computer and building things with our hands. I had pretty high hopes for this course after an amazing first meeting where we discussed, among other things, sustainability and planned obsolescence in product design. Then we got our first assignment: build a pooper scooper. Pooper scooper projects are the "Hello World" equivalent of the industrial design world, but I was initially game. However, the project went on for a month and my patience wore a little thin. While I was ultimately satisfied with my claw, dubbed "The Power Glove," and was able to use it to successfully pick up a stranger's dog shit near Gramercy Park, I was encouraged to push it further for the final prototype.
But I'd hit a wall. I had little interest in thinking about the practical designs of a pooper scooper, a device that all urban dog owners had told me would never surpass the plastic bag and hand in terms of convenience and efficiency. So I jumped ship. I ran as fast as I could away from the practical world of pooper scoopers and into the loving arms of an ideological sea change. I decided for the last week that I would propose an idea that, if successful, would result in a cultural touchstone, a wealth of merchandising oppurtunities and a generation of kids who would think that picking up dog shit was "totally cool."
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...POOTOMATON, THE UNSTOPPABLE POO-COLLECTING KILLBOT!
Pootomaton uses the latest advances in cybernetics and fecal fusion to convert a pile of dog shit into money. Pootomaton simply places said dogpile into the poop chute in his front panel and in minutes, the shit is converted via the fecal conversion reactor into a dollar bill. EVERYONE WINS!
BritishSteve, my cubicle mate, kindly agreed to play Pootomaton for the day so the exoskeleton was custom-fitted to his fleshy core.
I tailor a panel of sentient pooluminum (cardboard) while BritishSteve stares into the dark, haunting core of his left claw, which just happens to be one of his failed (but fucking awesome) prototypes.
BritishSteve tries on the cowl. We insisted that all people refer to the headpiece as a "cowl". Not a "helmet," not "the head," but a "cowl." People gave us strange looks but we weren't dissuaded. Inside us, beat the hearts of comic nerds.
The morning of, post spray paint enhancements on the sidewalk in front of the school. A security guard gave me a ration of shit about painting it after I'd finished and was sitting waiting for the bot to dry. I told her that I didn't care if I could do it or not, it was already done. Fuck you rules, ART KNOWS NO BOUNDS!
Pootomaton and his own comic make their grand entrance in the classroom.
Pootomaton collects poop. He prints money. And, if prompted, he pops and locks.
At our teacher's request, we stormed the office of Steve Heller, the chair of the MFA program to show off the costume.
Steve's words: "Well, you get an 'A'!"
A boy and his robot.
The comic next to my classmate Kimiyo's shit sculptures. I'm developing a bunch of ancillary products to flesh out the POOBOT-cum-SUPERHERO idea, so I'll post those later. Art school is, like, so wicked.