Pole-dancing Robot Stripper Performs at Melbourne Sexpo

An eye-catching display tackles sex, robotics, and surveillance. 

A photo of Giles Walker

Ever wondered what pole-dancing robots would look like? Don’t worry, British artist Giles Walker has got you covered. In response to the Feel The Future theme at Melbourne’s 2016 Sexpo [NSFW] in Australia, Walker gave patrons of  a taste of what a future of sexy androids might look like.

Kinetic sculptures

Although they might look like robots or strippers, they are in fact neither. Walker explains that they are simply kinetic sculptures made from mannequins, windshield wipers, and CCTV cameras. Although not linked to the Star Wars series, the dancers look like they might be the kind of droids you would find in the movie franchise.

“I started as a scrap artist building sculptures from what could be found in the scrap yards, and therefore was familiar with the parts available from scrapped cars,” Walker said to FoxNews. “In the case of these robots, I used windscreen wiper motors to move the body parts. These motors turn on and off with a simple programmable PCB. The figures consist of a metal armature, clad in plastic body parts cut from old mannequins and resprayed.”

Sex and surveillance

Combining themes like sex and surveillance creates an interesting interpretation of an online sexual future, especially after reports of people being recorded while masturbating, without their permission, when visiting adult film websites, and been scammed into paying the blackmailers.

Another interpretation of the piece could revolve around the Big Brother phenomenon, which involves authorities watching our every move. Extrapolating this idea to the realm of sex can be a scary thought as sexual acts are stereotypically expressed in a private sphere. Potentially exploiting this kind of privacy in the future is problematic.

Walker explored this idea as a result of the UK’s surveillance: “At the time I was building these sculptures the UK was being flooded with CCTV cameras,” he said. “They were everywhere, like mechanical ‘Peeping Toms’ on every street corner.”

Voyeurism or just fun?

Walker added that the kinetic sculptures aren’t only supposed to be seen as sex objects. Instead, the intention was to explore a sense of voyeurism, a concept often linked to sexual desire.

“By placing the CCTV on the body of a pole dancer I am looking at the relationship of voyeurism and power,” Mr. Walker told AAP. “Is she (the stripper) the one with the power, or is it the people watching her?”

“Most [of] the ‘sexualised’ robots you see remind me of the living dead,” Walker said. “I was up for the challenge and wanted to see if I could turn a pile of old scrap into something that could represent anything close to ‘sexy.’”

Despite Walker’s ability to create sex-exuding humanoid dancers, he doesn’t actually want them to replace humans in the sex sphere. Humans allow for a certain amount of accountability, whereas robotics may allow for more flexibility.

“If people can get used to the idea that they can do whatever they want to it without responsibility then it leads to a very dangerous area,” Walker said to 9news.

Futuristic views

Although Walker initially created this installation in 2012 for a show called Peepshow, the piece still delivers a sense of the future. This dystopian art installation opens a discussion for what the future of robotics might look like in the sex industry. We’ve already seen the rise of sex robots, and the exploration of robotic love in television series such as Westworld and Dark Matter or movies like Ex Machina.

Although Walker’s installation is still far off from looking truly human, it does still have some sexual aesthetic to it. Perhaps it will pave the way for sexualized robotics that don’t have to meet the standards of real life. Sex toys that represent disembodied genitals or mouths already exist in the forms of Fleshlights or dildos. Maybe something along the lines of mechanical arms could satisfy men, women, and trans consumers.

Walker prefers if the robotics remain non-sentient and maybe that’s for good reason.

Image source: Cakehead Loves Evil