The Verge profiles SRL robot artist Mark Pauline

Here's a beautifully shot video profile of our friend Mark Pauline, founder of Survival Research Laboratories. Mark has been creating explosive robotic art performances for over 30 years.

This is Mark Pauline, and for 34 of his 58 years he’s built robots. They are not practical robots, not servile room-sweepers or toadying floor-moppers, but multi-ton monstrosities, feral machines of metal and fire birthed from his idiosyncratic imagination. Everywhere he looks he sees machines yoked to the banal — a jet engine, a backhoe, a pair of industrial movers — everyday technologies bored by their routines. He sees their potential, then sets to liberating it; he digs deep into the machines to discover what they really want to be.
A couple of minutes into the video there's a scene where Mark is being questioned by a firefighter about the crazy fires and explosions involved in the show. It's hilarious.

What kind of machine is Mark Pauline?


  1. I have deep, visceral memories of SRL’s hellacious 2005 show in Downtown Los Angeles, which caused me to take many photos and do a lot of overwriting:

    If their work doesn’t simultaneously horrify and/or inspire you, you and I can never be friends.

    1. That 2005 show was at my now defunct gallery Dangerous Curve. Mark said, at the time, that it was one of his favorite shows. The producer of the event, the invaluable Susan Joyce, somehow convinced the city to let us close our little street and the gang went to town. a couple thousand people showed up including police standing on their cars for a better view. The fire dept was very cooperative and Pauline knows exactly how to go up to the line and back off before everything just gets too big. It was the literal last gasp of the arts district before condo-ization took over. We moved out the next week and the sidewalks and street lights were in place within months.

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