The two works feature devices that automatically draw images based on data obtained from the surrounding environment by sensors. The “Sonar Drawing Device” employs sonar to measure its distance from people and objects in the surrounding space as it revolves, and moves its arm, to which a charcoal stick is attached, based on the measurements. The “Phototropic Drawing Device” is a small solar-powered robot equipped with a light sensor, and is designed to move toward the most intense light. Traces of the robot’s movement appear as drawn images as the robot shifts its position following the changing distribution and intensity of light coming from the timer-controlled lights suspended from the ceiling.
BOWEN has created other drawing devices which are controlled by sensed information, and exhibits drawings made by these devices as independent works of art. The artist is not directly involved in the drawing process, but data gathered by the devices depend on the way the artist designs the devices. Drawings made by contraptions like the “Sonar Drawing Device” are also affected by the movement of visitors, and so the drawings made by these devices are not merely the output of sensors but are also works of collaboration among the artist, device and visitors.