Tillie and CyberRoberta
1995-98 • From Dollie Clone Series • Installation with doll, video camera, web cam, internet connection, custom software
CyberRoberta was conceived simultaneously with “Tillie, the Telerobotic Doll”. When they are exhibited together, each is programmed to pirate the others’ information, blurring their identities. “Tillie, The Telerobotic Doll” and “CyberRoberta” are constructed so that cameras replace the dolls’ eyes: a video camera in the left eye, a web cam in the right eye. By clicking on the “eye con” on the right of each doll’s internet image, users can telerobtically turn that doll’s head 180 degrees, allowing visitors to her web site to survey the room she is in. Viewers in the physical space of the gallery can see themselves captured on the small monitor in Tillie’s environment via a mirror placed in front of her. They also have the capability to send images back through the internet to the web page. The color video camera in the left eye records exactly what is in front of the doll. By looking at the world through the eyes of Tillie, viewers become not only voyeurs but also virtual cyborgs, because they use her eyes as a vehicle for their own remote and extended vision. Tillie’s recorded mirror images the face and becomes a mask for multiple expressions of identity capable only through global connectivity.
“A few months after the first cloned sheep named Dolly was announced to the public, I created two telerobotic dolls. “The Dollie Clones” refers to these two identically programmed ‘sisters’. Tillie was the older sibling. Her birth was slow and painful. However, the brain could be duplicated into a family of humanoids that could be fleshed out through the Net.” – Lynn Hershman Leeson