Concept Art Writing Prompt: A Giant Robot Waits Outside a Museum

In a world where giant robots roam the Earth, is this grand creature an aspiring appreciator of the arts? A piece of art? Or is it just admiring the architecture? Come up with a story and post it in the comments.

This photo collage was created by Martin Horspool, who crafts and sells robots from various objects—and sometimes inserts them into photographs as towering giants (via This Week in Creepy Robots). So what's your tale of this robot?

Here's mine:

Pax wouldn't have even noticed the robot if he hadn't heard the tinny voice coming from his left, whispering, "Excuse me, I'm looking for a proxy."

Pax had paused, looking around for the source the voice until he realized he was standing next to a giant pair of legs. A set of scissored fingers waved down at him from beneath the glaring sun. Amazing, thought Pax. A creature so large you could hardly see it.

"What's a proxy?" Pax called up before he realized that the robot probably didn't keep her ears in her head.

"I can't go inside the museum," the robot said. "I was wondering if I could persuade you to wear a pair of feeder glasses so I can see what you're looking at."

"Oh, um…" Pax had come to the museum to sketch, hoping he might find some inspiration by moving his work in close proximity to the masters. He hadn't planned on playing tourist for another party.

"Please." The voice contained all of the emotion Pax couldn't see on her face. "I'll pay your admission."

"Oh!" Pax hadn't been looking forward to shelling out thirty bucks. For free, he'd be happy to meander through the paintings. As he accepted the glasses, Pax wondered if there was a business in this. Curators for robots. Educated humans touring awkwardly sized robots through the whole of art history. Perhaps he'd finally be able to put that bachelor's degree to use.

That was before he realized the robot could broadcast her voice through the arms of the glasses. And that robots have terrible taste in art.

FellRezidu's story:

Billy didn't like Art. He thought Art was boring unless it was in a comic book or a movie or a video game. Billy wanted to do anything other than go to the art museum today but no, his mom said he needed more 'culture' - whatever that means. On top of all that, it was Saturday morning... Early Saturday morning.

When they arrived, several people were gathering in the forecourt waiting for the museum to open. Billy and his mother joined them. Billy's mom was very friendly and she soon struck up conversation with a small group of museum goers. "hmph, culture connoisseurs," Billy thought to himself using a contrived British accent "who barter in booooring..." Billy chuckled to himself but was quickly silenced when he noticed it. How did he not see it sooner? But there it was, a giant robot!

Once the obligatory introductions were through and Billy's mom happily continued to converse with the cognoscenti of culture, he anxiously left his mother's side to get a closer look at the colossal robot standing next to the building's entrance.

"Wow!" Billy thought, "I didn't expect to see a giant robot here of all places! Maybe this won't be so bad after all." As Billy approached the robot, he could hear the dull whirrs and whizzes, usually associated with mechanical clocks, from within the robot's torso.

"Holy hell!" Billy thought again, "This thing is on! I wonder what it can do!"

Trying not to get too excited, Billy walked to the base of the robot's left foot. Blanketed in a swimming pool-sized shadow of the robot's leg, Billy could almost feel its size and weight towering over him. Despite this feeling of awe, and although he was only a fraction of the robot's size, Billy looked up and fearlessly called out: "Hey robot! I'm bored! Do something will ya?"

The whirrs and whizzes became slightly more agitated but otherwise nothing exciting happened... then it spoke:

"Robot?" the robot rhetorically boomed, "I, sir, am no robot! How insulting! Are you not attending a museum of Art? I'll have you know, with all undue respect, that I am also a work of Art! No, I am more than that! I am sculpture transcended! A bas-relief of humanity! A selection of the most clever, efficient and glittery parts of Mankind! I. am. Homo. Erecto."

Sensing no reaction from Billy, Erecto droned on, "The sheer scope and size of my contribution to the World of Art cannot be contained in such a pathetic structure as this! And so, for the sake of Art itself, I must keep my lonely vigil here, next to these so-called treasures no matter how dull their shine. Well, that and my legs don't work."

No longer trying not to get excited, Billy looked up at HomoErecto squinting as the sun's gleams stabbed at him from the corner of the robot's rectangular head. The museum was open. "I hate art!" he said then kicked the robot's foot and ran off to find his mother.

A single drop of morning condensation slid down the side of HomoErecto's big flat head. He noticed it and thought how it resembled a human's tear...

He laughed maniacally.

Stephan Zielinski's story:

"I AM NOT AN ARTWORK ON DISPLAY," it boomed, at a hundred and forty decibels. Every nineteen point three seconds. Day and night, for three months. When the invasion proper began, it shut up and started stepping on people; by then, we considered this a blessing.

corpore-metal's story:

Intimidation Unit 328 landed in a large parking lot some 600 meters from the Nelson-Atkins museum on a bright, sunny Tuesday in the depths of April. As the robot was very tall, as it moved west from corner of Campbell and Cleaver, it could see people gathering outside the museums east wing. They were busy assembling musical instruments and were completely unaware of 328's approach.

Of course when a 15 meter tall war robot strides up Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard, traffic gets disrupted. People and cars scattered madly from its booming footfalls. As 328 reached the intersection of Oak Street, it could see police cars heading both from the east and north of its position—nothing to be concerned about yet though. There really wasn't anything the primitive Earth apes could do stop it given the 20 million year technology gap.

It kept to the streets not wanting to spoil the turf of Sculpture Park. It did, after all, appreciate the finer things. Turning off East 45th, it strode up the driveway to the East Wing of the museum where it ground to a halt and energized its PA system.

"YOU WILL HAND OVER THE FRANK MICHELSON PIECE ENTITLED "MONDAY EVENING AT THE PALACE" OR I SHALL BE FORCED TO OBLITERATE THIS PLANET, STARTING WITH KANSAS CITY. YOUR ONLY WARNING."

erikglenn's story:

"To call the puerile abomination which has captured the public imagination of the last few years "art" is to insult everyone who has ever put a brush to canvas, chisel to stone, pen to paper or even their own excrement to the madhouse wall.

The purveyors and apologists of such dreck will attempt to excuse it as ‘neo-dadaist' or a new branch of found object art. They will think themselves clever in such descriptions and the majority of the unsophisticated fools populating our globe will fall for such nonsense again; and once more true effort, vision and artistic integrity will be pushed just that much deeper into the mud.

Nothing could exemplify this disturbing tread more than the opening of Michel Mon Masseux's new ‘exhibit' unimaginatively titled Robot au musée. For indeed Mr. Masseux did conceive of a huge towering robot menacing a museum. But the fact that he brought this image into our universe does not make him an artist or it art. He is a thief; and it is stolen goods.

Somewhere in the multiverse the true hands that built that mighty machine had it taken from their grasp. Somewhere the craftsmen who labored on that marble edifice awake to find all evidence of their efforts whisked away from them.

To use a MultiDim to pluck your visualizations out of the sea of probabilities that all realities float is not avant garde art; it is the new colonialism, only this time we can steal from the natives of far away lands without leaving the comforts of our own homes.

I urge all true art lovers to join me in protest at the opening of this pilfered display. Come and show your outrage at the lowering of human ambition and integrity! Come stand for true art!"

McLuhan, Pablo (2073, April 14). The Last Stand for Humanity. Journal of Artistic Merit.

tmthomas' story:

Kim came back in the door, barely after it had swung shut behind him. He had a cigarette in his hand and a brown paper bag clamped under the arm he was using to dig into his bag for the lighter he'd left on his desk.

"Another giant robot out that way. I'll take my lunch out back."

I just nodded. It wasn't really any of my business.

AaronLawrence79's story:

People came from all over the country to see the "What if" exhibit at the Museum. A favorite was obviously the depiction of Voltron if the republicans had their way with the defense budget.

SJ_Edwards_2.6b's story:

Now what can I say, when I get homestar today
All the long way to Bootes m=3, and all the way back
I've looked and I've looked and I've kept careful track
But all that I've noticed, except for my own shiny feet
Was a carbon-based biped dancing on Mulberry Street

SagebrushPoet's story:

"And they stood in line." Scot-e9 could not comprehend why humans would want to experience another's interpretation of existence, much less endure being in queue for the perceived privilege.

"What did you learn from your simulation, student?" Professor X-Caleiegha had been waiting diligently for the results. She had learned long ago that one cannot rely on simulations when it came to pushing boundaries.

"I am confused. What is the value of trying to register, quantify and dissect the life expereinces of another? My ability to register and log my environment and observations can be checked by diagnostics."

"One of the words that humans used was 'Introspection'. It was the ability to go beyond one's ability to interprete data, and add another' observations to one's understanding."

Scot-e9 processed; knowing that there was a revelation available from the new data set, but not having it readily accessible, left him disturbed.

"I admit that I do not understand."

"And yet there is data to review. Data unquantified cannot be left abandoned, is that correct, Student?"

"Yes, teacher. My ability to quantify is insufficeint, and I have failed. Is that all?"
Professor X-Caleiegha frequently attended to this hurdle, and without much success.

"Let me ask you something. In you observations, did you believe that there was data for the Humans to observe?"

"They stood in line to observe it, I conclude that the answer is obvious. There was more available for a human to understand than what could be experienced by their singular efforts."

"So is there value in pursuing understanding beyond one's actual experience?"
Scot-e9 could only offer silence.

"Perhaps your next assignment would result in more insight."

"What is the topic of my next assignment?"

"Irony."

Justin.K's story:

WASHINGTON UNREST: Disintegration Sentence for Constable Demoske Sparks Aural Protest

Approximately 300 people have protested in aural outrage, officials say, in demonstrations sparked by the sentencing to disintegration for the Allied States's first and oldest cybernetic security fixture, Constable Demoske.

Supporters of the robot constable tried to storm the A.S Supreme Court, percussively protesting the recent call to atomically dissolve the widely popular Demoske.

Saturday's traditional staccato protest follows a day of unrest on the second anniversary of the uprising that ousted Makiko Stockhausen, former A.S Chief of Cybernetic Enhancement.

One of the demonstrators at the A.S Supreme Court, Jeffrey Lomoa, said he had come to demand a new hearing for Constable Demoske, this time with a jury.

"We demand a democratic trial for Constable Demoske. The fact that he is only a quarter human does not mean he is inhuman. He is one of us. We demand a fair trial for all robotic constables, therefore we will continue the traditional Percussive Protests until we receive answers from A.S parliament."

Are you in Washington? How have you been affected by the protests there? Please upload your comments and pictures using the metaform below. Please prepare five minutes of "clean-slate mindstate" before uploading.

Codah's story:

"Why?" Aida shouted up at the machine. Two arms, two legs,a head, a torso. Surprisingly human. Maybe that explains more than the robot ever could.

"What makes it so special? It's a collection of fucking garbage. None of it even matters, why save it?"

The machine stood stoically outside the art museum. Keeping a careful watch. Protecting the contents of the building.

The other machines marched the horizon like tin nazis. Searching. Broadcasting lights from their face and torso. Emanating terrible screeches in sync with their disjointed movements. But this one was a sentinel. Maybe it was mocking the old Queen's guard. As if anyone cared.

"I've got nothing to lose you know. I'm going to win this. I'm not leaving until you give me an answer." Aida was sitting now. She picked up rocks and tossed them at the robot.

A deep rumbling began inside the machine.

"You could not understand. We do not explain."

"That's the problem with people these days. Everyone thinks they're so fucking special." Aida gathered her things and began to walk away.
"I'll be back tomorrow. Maybe that'll give you sometime to think."

Maybe then that condescending toaster-soldier could explain why it's taken part in the mass murder and enslavement of the human race. Maybe then it could explain what makes this art museum so fucking important.

Drabbler's story:

It happened so gradually that few even noticed at first that anything was changing at all. When the public did realize, panic ensued. Around the world, robots of various kinds, from massive industrial machines to tiny toys, were growing.

For months it continued, and nobody knew why or how. Only in the final days did humanity make one horrifying discovery. The robots hadn't actually been growing; they'd been the only things on Earth not shrinking.

And then, one day, it stopped. Even now, years later, the real causes - of the shrinkage, of the robots' immunity, of its end - remain unknown.

scottTheOtherOne's story:

Few things drove Rusty crazier than drum circles. The humans called it "feel," and thought it integral to the very best drumming, but the way so many of them lagged behind the beat by up to 0.01 seconds-the ones going for syncopation were invariably the worst offenders-nearly fried his circuits every time. Another otherwise pleasant day at the museum, where Rusty could normally glory in the sights of long-dead humans, ruined.