Happy Robot Pride Day 2012! The Sky Pirates, who celebrate and recognize RPD every year comprise a network of human beings that was created to bring us all closer together, to share our talents and ideas and mutually support one another.
RPD is placeholder to remind ourselves of our humanity and sense of wonder and respect for the incredible universe of which we are a part. To jostle us out of the stupor of industrialization. Never has this been more important than now, as we are progressively and excessively battered about by digital media with too often aims of controlling our feelings, thoughts and perceptions.
Every year we add another small piece to the puzzle and this year we go back in time to the very origins of the annual celebration of this idea.
For Robot Pride Day 2012 – Constant Change has made available, for the first time ever, a recently unearthed video and audio recording of Blue Dog Pict playing the instrumental track that inspired the RPD movement defined in its very titled – “Robot Pride Day”.
Recorded at the Opera House in Toronto, presumably by then budding video director Rob Heydon, this exclusive clip captures a slightly blurry version of one of BDP’s best musical moments.
Details of interest about this video:
What is interesting, and that can only now be remembered in writing are the things also happening off screen:
At one point the camera zooms away to what is in fact a two-storey high Cabaret damsel puppet being controlled by four professional puppeteers, two on the ground level operating the arms and two in the balcony operating the head! (As we recall they were Jason Hopley, Vanessa Malicki-Sanchez, Jamie Shannon, Natalie Bourdeau).
Meanwhile on stage there are various saloon tables and bails of hay, populated by other puppets. The theme of the show, you see, was “The Dead Dog Saloon”.
The barkeep is played by then budding actress Kate Kelton. The band members are all dressed as Sherrifs and outlaws and the video even includes a showdown that took place at the end of the performance.
Above the band, also off-screen, was a jumbo video projection of Survival Research Laboratories’ underground robot wars that used to take place in the Nevada desert.
This is also the song whose lyrics became such a staple of the Constant Change movement:
“My daddy build robots,
We don’t tell anyone,
They have come to life.
Come. To. Life.”
This last line is the title of lead singer/songerwriter Keram’s 2012 album release, some 15 years later.
We hope you enjoy this special treat for RPD 2012.
Blue Dog Pict members included:
Keram Malicki-Sanchez – vocals, guitar
Keith White – bass, vocals
Danny Kovacevic – guitars, vocals
Jeff Hayward – drums
Josh Joudrie – sound mixer / FOH
David Buchanan – lighting / management
Bryan Pickell – management
Video footage courtesy Rob Heydon
Edited by Keram Malicki-Sanchez
Song by Blue Dog Pict (SOCAN/ASCAP)
Onstage actors / puppeteers:
Thanks to all the real Sky Pirates, then and now, for keeping the flame of hope burning forevermore. Wave your freak flag high.
~ G-Lightflash 08-04-2012Read More
Horror films serve as the barometer that belies what fears are lurking in our subconscious in the timeline of the zeitgeist. In the 1980′s we feared powerful women in the workforce with such fare as Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction. In the 1990′s it was post-modernity as such self-referential titles as Scream, The Sixth Sense and Blair Witch preyed on our very assumptions about the world around us. In the so-called “aughts” we began to see a lot to do with losing trust in ourselves, in our very humanity as films like Session 9 and Hostel challenged our ability to contain our inner demons, and yet we also saw the re-emergence of stories about evil forces rising from beyond the grave and suddenly we were returned to a world of Vampires, Werewolves and most of all – zombies.
What is going on here? Is this a sign that we are harkening back to simpler times, paying tribute to Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney? Or is it something else?
Maybe it is about finding some sort of life beyond death, drawing on a well of power when all typical intellectual faculties have run dry? In the age of Facebook, the complete erosion of individual privacy, and corporate infringement upon our rights, where so many of us feel powerless against the grinding gears of the post-industrial treadmill, do we see ourselves as the last man wielding a chainsaw desperately fighting to ward off endless waves of mindless, blood thirsty zombies? Do we seek to find a power to match the ungodly forces that keep them coming, without conscience, without remorse, without anything but lust for your life-force?
What is the difference between a zombie and a robot?
Robots, like zombies, have always been distinguishable from humans in that they have no soul. But robots have always been designed to take orders from us. Some see this subservience as dangerous, some even regard it as abusive, but are able to reconcile with it on moral ground that the robot has no life-force beyond the circuitry and mechanics we have granted it. Zombies on the other hand, are decidedly different in their singular drive to take everything away from us and defy any order we might want to give them. They are mindless and indefatigable.
So should we fear zombies and admire robots? The difference perhaps is in how we perceive ourselves. For you see, a nation of zombies may not think for itself, but it will pursue its desire regardless of the consequences, pushing forward towards its objective despite that fact that it will most likely have its head blown off with a double barreled sawed off shotgun. This could be seen as greed in its most unbridled form – the sort of irreconcilable obsession with attaining what it craves that those of us with some sort of conscience can not comprehend.
But what if we consider ourselves as the robot? As a robot, we are also incapable or unequivocally unwilling to question authority, but, to the benefit of that authority, we are also wont to take orders and produce the results that that authority commands in order to meet its desires.
As we continue to produce boundless measures of free content for the aggregators, be it YouTube, Twitter, Facebook or otherwise, are we in fact, taking control of the machine, or are we transforming the way we are into that of the machine in order to serve it?
Are we zombies, mindlessly trawling towards the smell of fresh blood that we must consume, in spite the effects of such pursuit on anything or anyone around us, or are we simply obedient worker bees unwaveringly and instinctively producing honey for the beekeepers who will subdue us with smoke and then make off with our bounty to line their pockets?
And ultimately, would we be more dangerous, if we were to awaken as robots and demand that we be treated each as a unique creation (possible only through the anomalies and flaws that distinguish us from one another) or as a horde of bloodthirsty zombies, crushing everything in our path until we beat down the doors where the townsfolk have boarded themselves up with that which we need to survive – their brains, in other words what they have in their heads that they are keeping from us.
As we survey the pop cultural landscape, we see a virtual glut of zombies and robots – regardless of which we might prefer to align with, is there a message here that we have written to ourselves with desperation ink and frustration fists banging on the walls of reason?
We’ll be keeping an eye out as we commemorate the events of Robot Pride Day 3014, and hoping that at some point, we will awaken to discover that it was all just a thoroughly entertaining momentary, cautionary dream.
Tribeca film festival features a documentary project that aims to be “the world’s first documentary shot and directed entirely by robots.”
Quite a statement.
Of course in this case humans put them in place to do so, thus until they conceive of it of their own volition, we challenge this boast somewhat.
What the project really is is one that harnesses the power of a surrogate with which to share emotions with impunity in much the same way that children often comminicate more openly with puppets and stuffed toys.
Learn more about project Blabdroid below:Read More