If you’re looking for something different to do this weekend, how about hearing a band of robots make beautiful music? Artist Chico MacMurtrie’s eclectic collection of robotic sculptures is now performing for the first time on the East Coast at a historic church in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The site-specific installation, fittingly called the Robotic Church, has taken over the former Norwegian Seaman’s Church with a collection of incredible sound-playing robotic sculptures, all made from recycled machine parts. Although reservations are required, the spectacular show is free and open to the public with three performance days throughout November.


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MacMurtrie has been creating robotic and kinetic sculptures since the 1980s using recognizable auto and machinery parts connected to computers, pneumatic actuators and small motors. The robots resemble humanistic forms and use elements of their bodies to make sound, either through stomping, compressing air, playing instruments, or even strumming strings on their own bodies. Together, they make a beautiful junkyard orchestra, programmed by MacMurtrie. As visitors sit on the long church benches, some of the various robots is given its time to shine, while others play complementing clanks in unison. Robots burst out of closed doors, squeeze and squawk through pneumatic tubes, and even draw on canvases between sessions banging on bongos.

The robot orchestra is watched by a graceful, conductor-like robot, which looks down upon the audience, and is jointed enough to make smooth and almost sexy movements. Another constant is a robot that slowly climbs a rope strung from hanging tree sculptures in the center of the room, gradually reaching the top and signifying the end of the performance.

MacMurtrie’s Robotic Church will be performing on November 9th, 10th, 17th and 24th.

+ Chico MacMurtrie

+ Robotic Church

Video by Blouin Artinfo