The Candle, robotic philosophical failure


How much does our anthropomorphic vision of machines influence their interpretation? And what do we need to attribute anthropomorphic qualities to a machine? ”The Candle” by Amir Bastan explores these questions through a simple recurring gesture. An industrial robot arm with an audio speaker at the end, points to a lit candle, and through the reproduction of highly vibrating low sounds, tries to blow it out. The discharge of vibrations causes the flame to swing, but the attempt fails miserably each time, with the arm quickly reconfiguring its position, and trying from another angle, again and again. The philosophical failure speaks in various ways, beyond the artists’ recurring references (Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia movie), questioning, for example, the technical supremacy of an advanced machine and the impossibility of accomplishing an anthropomorphic basic task.


Amir Bastan – The Candle