17_Non_Player_Character_03_Bob_Bicknell_Knight.jpg

Second Variety, 2021
3D printed PLA plastic, pine wood dowel, rust effect paint
70.5 x 110 x 36.6 cm
Edition of 3, 2AP

Second Variety is a 3D printed life size autonomous robot dog, with its form inspired by the real-life robot dogs currently being produced by the American company Boston Dynamics. The work imagines a future where robot dogs have been utilised in various unknown ways. In this future scenario the dog has been discovered, rusted and worn down, by a society that has forgotten its original purpose.

The title is inspired by the 1953 short story of the same name by science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. Set in a world where war between the Soviet Union and United Nations has reduced most of the world to a barren wasteland, the story concerns the discovery that self-replicating robots originally built to assassinate Soviet agents have gained sentience. The work embodies this idea of being watched from the shadows, alongside emphasising the fact that many believe that autonomous robots will soon reach the technological singularity, a hypothetical future point in time at which technological growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in unforeseeable changes to human civilization, where our once robotic slaves will transform into our masters.