Playabots are tiny paper robots designed to elicit empathy and incite experience. 150 of them were assembled by hand, and traveled with me to Burning Man in 2011 as a distributed art project.
Each Playabot came with a unique “mission” – the Playabot’s greatest wish during their Burning Man experience – printed on a paper scroll and stored in a pill bottle alongside the bot. Missions ranged from the relatively easy (“I want to get dirty,” #001), to the more challenging (“I want to do something I wouldn’t tell my mother about,” #113).
As Playabots were gifted to the participants of Burning Man, the hope was that those Black Rock citizens would help the Playabots achieve their goals, encouraging new experiences for not just the bots, but their human helpers as well.
Some of the participants photographed their bots on and off playa, and submitted those photos to the Playabots website.