Artist in Residency
Robottic Petting Zoo
During her residency in the SoBA lab, Merel worked together with Professor Emily S. Cross, Dr. Ruud Hortensius, programmer Bishakha Chaudhury and other members of the Social Robots project to create the robotic petting zoo. This project is funded by an ESRC Impact Acceleration Award Creative Practitioner-in-Residence programme.
In this interactive public art performance, a small group of iRobot Rooma vacuuming cleaning robots compete in a popularity contest. Just like in human life these robots have unique characters. Some of them are cheerful, others grumpy and another will apologize constantly when bumping into obstacles. By feeding the robots, following their lives and personalities, and rooting for them to win the contest, visitors can interact with the petting zoo robots and shape who wins the popularity contest, and thus reveal more about the social relationships humans might forge with artificial agents.
More information about this project can be found at the Robotic Petting Zoo website.
Shape My Town
Artist in Residency
During her residency, Bekking created a Pop-up Museum was to interact with Llandudnos residents to highlight and discuss Llandudno's heritage to the largest prehistoric mine in the world, the 3500 year old The Great Orme Copper Mines. Daily drop-in activities of creating a bronze-age oil lamp and stone pendant for the local inhabitants took place. Additionally, Bekking organized a malachite painting workshop and a copper jewellery masterclass. Up at the mines she co-worked with David Chapman with a smelting demonstration learning the procedures and processes in turning malachite to copper.
She has co-worked with Llandudno archives, Llandudno Museum, Great Orme Copper Mines and David Chapman from Ancient Arts.
The Pop-up Museum received 1,645 visitors over 14 days and not only gave the public an opportunity to learn about Llandudno's heritage but to voice their opinions about the town.
These concrete (cacti)flowerpots were designed as a commission for Sweatshop Deluxe, a social design label that works with people for whatever reason, can not participate in the regular labour market. Asked to create a design that was reacting to the design-trends of that time and that could be created within the existing workspace and capabilities by the participants of Sweatshop Deluxe. In 2016 and 2017 the planters were produced by Stable, South Africa.