Sofitel SO Bangkok Artist in Residence: Paul the Robot

Sofitel SO Bangkok will host Paul, a portrait artist robot and two of his avatars, each with their own drawing style to combine fine art and digital media technology, from 12th to 30th September 2017 (9th Floor Park Lobby).

During this spectacular artist residency, guests are invited to have their portrait drawn by Paul the Robot in approximately thirty minutes. This residency will showcase the invention of London based French artist and scientist Patrick Tresset who is the creator and mastermind behind Paul the Robot.

Paul is a robotic installation that can create observational drawings of people’s faces. He has a very specific morphology; a body made from a vintage school desk, with a left arm bolted to it and a ball point pen attached. Attached to the table is a motorized eye that recognizes the human’s face.

When Paul begins to draw, the camera’s eye turns randomly around its axis, until it recognizes a face. It fixes the face for a moment before returning to the drawing sheet; the arm moves, proceeding in small traces in different places of the paper, while the eye follows its displacements. At the end, Paul signs his work of art with his very own automaton autograph.

“Drawing is one of the most human related activities” says Patrick Tresset.  “It is often seen as an indicator of intelligence that we can trace from prehistoric times. I programmed the robot to draw like I do. While trying to manipulate a robot you under-stand more and more what it means to be human. We realise how animals, including our-selves, are sophisticated and adaptable. The real world is highly unpredictable and complex. Yet, in the process of trying to get the robots to do anything, we understand more and more things about human being”.

The residency at Sofitel So Bangkok will be the first time that Paul the Robot has performed outside of YenakArt Villa in Thailand. He has had performances in other parts of Asia such as Seoul in Korea (2015 for the group show ‘Robot Essay’ at the Modern and Contemporary art museum) and Tokyo (2017 ‘Digital Chic – Machines Désirantes’ festival at the Institut Français) in Japan.


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