An interactive installation featuring drawing robots by Patrick Tresset


In a site-specific artist studio, visitors were invited to have their portrait sketched by 6 robots that simulated the artist Patrick Tressets own drawing ability and technique. These obsessive drawing machines with "eyes" were linked to an artificial mind, they were also capable of displaying attention and purpose when focusing on the life-drawing participant. Resembling students, the robots drew from various view points and with different drawing styles, with their singular drawing arms limiting their freedom of gesture.

Tresset’s robots; each named Paul, are “obsessive drawing entities,” that can mimic the behavior and movements of an artist engrossed in a freehand sketch. When the subject sits for Paul, its camera ‘eyes’ pan up and down as the pen in its ‘hand’ scribbles frantically on the paper in front.  Each portrait took 30-40 minutes to complete.

The finished portraits were then hung on the walls of the space to create an exhibition of the various people that had participated. The drawings were then included in the ‘Collection’ – a series that is composed of over 12,000 drawings of participants.

The project included an event titled; The Crucible - Where Scientists Meet Artists, where The Dennis Rosen Trust and the New Scientist brought together people from both the art and science world for an evening of discussion, debate, idea sharing and networking with Patrick Tresset as the guest speaker.




10 days September/October 2012

Location A temporary meanwhile space in the award-winning Neo Bankside designed by Rogers.Stirk, 50 Holland Street, Bankside, London SE1 9FU

Commissioned and produced by Illuminate Productions for MERGE festival in partnership with Better Bankside and Tate Modern

Supported by Arts Council England, Native Land, Land Securities, New Scientist, The Dennis Rosen Memorial Trust

The project went on to win The Jury Selection + The public award in the New Technology Art Award in 2014, the Jury Selection in the 19th Japan Media Art Festival 2014 and a Bronze in the Lumen Prize in 2014

Key coverage total reach 264 million. Media included The Independent, The Telegraph, Metro, The Times, Time Out, The Evening Standard, The Guardian Critics Choice, The Daily Mail, Wired Magazine

People often ask why I invent robots that are capable of drawing, as it is a specifically human activity. Do I attempt to replace human beings with robots? No. Only myself, perhaps... I started off as a painter; after fifteen years of practice, I felt I reached a dead end. Somewhat naturally, I replaced my “traditional practice” with what I am doing now.
— Patrick Tresset

Patrick Tresset

Patrick Tresset is a London based artist and scientist who develops and presents theatrical installations with robotic agents as actors which are evocations of humanness. Tresset’s installations use computational systems that introduce artistic, expressive and obsessive aspects to robots’ behaviour. These systems are influenced by research into human behaviour, more specifically how artists make marks that depict, how humans perceive artworks and how humans relate to robots. Tresset develops robots and autonomous computational systems to produce series of drawings, paintings and animations.

Tresset’s work has been exhibited in galleries worldwide and in association with major museums and institutions such as The Pompidou Center, Museum of Israel, Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul), BOZAR (Brussels), Prada Foundation (Milan) and at events such as Ars Electronica, Update_5 and WRO2015.