Fifteen Points

Do you prefer objects or people?

As you view the installation Fifteen Points by Random International, this question takes on a new dimension. How quickly do you spot a human figure in the points of light arranged by the machinery?

Following a research residency at Harvard’s Biomimetic Robotics Division, Random International built the robotic sculpture based on scientific insights into the brain’s ability to discern identity from minimal data.

Crafted using aluminium rails, a stainless steel structure, custom software, and LEDs, the inanimate machine is transformed by the human brain into an illusion of humanity.

Through the sophisticated placement of just 15 points of light, and a persuasive score by Chihei Hatakeyama, our minds take 0.15 seconds to conjure human form, perceiving our own subjectivity through an electronic object.

— Chihei Hatakeyama
Chihei Hatakeyama is an electronic music artist from Tokyo, Japan. He released his first full-length album, Minima Moralia on experimental US label Kranky in 2006, and has since created his own record label White Paddy Mountain, launched in 2010.

Hatakeyama’s music is characteristically very slow, composed by repeatedly processing guitars, pianos, and vibraphones. The result is a mix of languid chords and sparse single instruments rising above the main composition.

In his custom arrangement for Random International’s robotic sculpture, 15 points, the ethereal sonic textures add a performative layer to the movements of the robot, highlighting the human inclination to project narrative onto objects in motion.