There are all sorts of things stuck on your robot. Where did it come from?
It’s funny, people keep asking me that. A lot of the things that I stuck on the robot are things collected by me – I found a lot of stuff in Dragon Mart. I was looking for nifty little things that I could put together and customise. A lot of the pieces were pendants. It took a lot of superglue.
Did you have an idea in mind when you were working on the robot?
A lot of my work is based on kitsch Hindu art. Hinduism as a religion is very open and I feel you just need to go all the way with it. I’ve done a lot of work on this subject, like the 1969 Fiat that I painted up and called Om Kara. Even that piece was all about Hindu art. But in this robot, I wanted the image of Lord Vishnu to figure in the most iconic part of the robot. Vishnu is always seen with a shell in one hand and a sword in the other and I wanted to explore this rationale that the robot is the final avatar of Lord Vishnu, who comes as the apocalypse. So I was looking for stuff that had connotations of death and devastation and destruction.
So wait, you mean this little robot means… the end?
In Hinduism, during the iron age, the coming of the apocalypse is during the machine age. There are 11 avatars of Lord Vishnu and the final avatar is apocalypse and that will only arrive in the machine age. So that made a good link with using the robot.
Surely we’re in the machine age now?
Well, it’s doubtful. They say we’re in the iron age at the moment and the worst is yet to come. Hey, that’s a little scary.
Amritraj Gupta’s customised robot is on sale at thejamjar (04 341 7303) along with the other works as part of My Name Is Robot. All proceeds go to the START educational development charity. Until March 9. www.mynameisrobot.org