Kacie Kinzer’s Tweenbots in New York

I found this through MW on Facebook and it is absolutely adorable. Tisch School of Arts student Kacie Kinzer conducted a ‘social (art) experiment’ with “Tweenbots” to see if habitants of New York would pause in their busy lives to help out a robot.

The smiling 10-inch tall Tweenbots were made out of a cardboard body, and equipped only with a flag stating its intended destination. They can only move in one direction (forward), which made them reliable on the kindness of passing strangers to guide them. This means that the passing people would have to stop, read the flag, and then set the robot free to continue its journey in the right direction to reach their goal.

The mission was to get from the Northeast to the Southwest Corner of Washington Square Park. It took the Tweenbot 42 minutes, the number of people who intervened was 29 (!) Hidden cameras were then set out to capture the random acts of kindness.

What happened is actually quite astonishing in today’s fast paced environment, I would love to see this experiment being carried out in multiple big cities to see how people in different cultures react. What would happen if the Tweenbot was set free on Sergel’s Torg in Stockholm? I’m pretty convinced that the risk of this robot not making it is far greater in Stockholm than New York — something that makes me sad.

I’m especially fond of this encounter:

“One man turned the robot back in the direction from which it had just come, saying out loud to the Tweenbot, “You can’t go that way, it’s toward the road.”

Read more at Tweenbots.com.