TOULOUSE, France — Kolja Kugler of Berlin wants you to know that he’s not an engineer. Or developer. Or very tech savvy.
No, he’s an artist, a sculptor. And he said it was his interest in finding ways to make his objects more expressive that led him to start building robots. The result of this journey is his One Love Band, a collection of three large metal robots accompanied by several smaller whistling bird robots.
Kugler brought his heavy metal sculpture to the Futurapolis conference that was held last weekend in Toulouse. The band gave several performances over the course of the two-day event.
He got his start as an artist working with a group that was transforming abandoned Cold War war gear into large art installations. As he developed sculptures from scrap metal, he also began playing with ways to use air-pressure systems to power and control the movements of the sculptures.
His first robot, Sir Elton Junk, is the one in the picture sitting in the middle above the sign with times on it. Eventually, he took more scrap metal and built the other two robots: a bass player and a drum player. While he’s working on making their sounds more musical, his real interest is in expanding the range of head and body expressions the robots can make while playing.
The “One Love” name is a reference to the Bob Marley sign. Kugler plans to keep building more “band members” using money he earns from tours and paid performances. He noted that the band disassembles quite easily and fits into a van.
Here’s a glimpse of one of their performances this weekend: