The plant inside this device is both interactive with people and protected from them. Its metal armor closes up when approached and opens when people move away from it. Through cloning and micropropagation technologies, humankind has engineered creations such as the Spineless Opuntia, a cactus that lacks its original defense mechanism against those who eat them. This sculpture embodies my impulse to protect this vulnerable, human-engineered creation. But it also reveals the folly of protection in its heavy reliance on technology.
I made this in 1999 as part of my MFA exhibition at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After all of these year, this robot still functions.