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Sarah Cascone on Twitter
Sarah Cascone on Twitter

A Robot Spent 36 Hours Painting This Abstract Masterpiece

Sarah Cascone on Twitter
Sarah Cascone on Twitter

Scientists have continued to aid the machines in their plot for world domination by developing ones that can walk, jump, run, fall, dance, and even create original works of art. The latest Rembrandt-robot comes from the team that created Instapainting, a service that allows people to commission human artists online to hand-paint anything from landscapes to animal portraits. For 36 hours, viewers on the live-streaming app Twitch were given the power to control the painting robot with script commands, creating an interesting swirl of colors and some identifiable shapes.

Sarah Cascone on Twitter

"The robot can move around the canvas and raise [and] lift a brush," read the instruction page on Twitch, which also offered specific information about the component values that could be used to control the machine. "What it does is up to you, whether that is painting something or world domination." In a statement to Artnet, Instapainting founder Chris Chen described the robot painting session as an "art project" and shared information about how the experiment went. Despite a few bots that tried to force the machine to paint vulgar imagery, Chen says that the project was "less organized" than previous trials, but it "mostly ran without issues … it was a $250 machine slapped together with quickly written software, so running it for that long was an endurance test."

Artnet reports that the painting will be auctioned off on eBay with proceeds going to charity, though the specific charity has not yet been revealed. Watch a clip of the session below and stay tuned to the Instapainting Blog to see when the next live event is scheduled. 

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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Art
Art Lovers in England, Rejoice: France's Famous Bayeux Tapestry is Coming to the UK
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

One of France’s most prized national treasures, the Bayeux Tapestry, is officially heading to England for exhibition. The loan will mark the first time the fragile 11th century work has left France in nearly 1000 years, according to The Washington Post.

French president Emmanuel Macron announced news of the loan in mid-January, viewed by some as a gesture to smooth post-Brexit relations with Britain, ABC reports. The tapestry depicts the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, a historically important event replete with guts and glory.

Stretching for 210 feet, the Bayeux Tapestry’s nine embroidered panels tell the tale of Harold, Earl of Wessex, who swore an oath to support the right of William, Duke of Normandy, to the English throne once King Edward (a.k.a. Edward the Confessor) died without an heir. But after Edward's funeral at Westminster Abbey, Harold breaks his oath to William so he could be crowned king instead. Believing he was the rightful ruler, William—today remembered as William the Conqueror—decides to wage war and ultimately defeats Harold at the Battle of Hastings.

The historical narrative has endured for centuries, but the tapestry's provenance has been lost to time. Experts think that the artwork may have been created in England, shortly after the Battle of Hastings, although it’s unclear who designed and embroidered the scenes. Its original owner, Bishop Odo of Bayeux, the half-brother of William the Conqueror, may have commissioned the Bayeux Tapestry. He became Earl of Kent after the Battle of Hastings, and this new title would have afforded him access to skilled artisans, The Guardian explains.

The Bayeux Tapestry is currently on display in the town of Bayeux in Normandy. It likely won’t leave France until 2020, after conservators ensure that it’s safe to move the artwork. According to The Telegraph, the tapestry might be be displayed at the British Museum in 2022.

[h/t The Washington Post]

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Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
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Design
This Snow Sculpture of a Car Was So Convincing Cops Tried to Write It a Ticket
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.

Winter is a frustrating time to be on the road, but one artist in Montreal has found a way to make the best of it. As CBS affiliate WGCL-TV reports, his snow sculpture of a DeLorean DMC-12 was so convincing that even the police were fooled.

Simon Laprise of L.S.D Laprise Simon Designs assembled the prank car using snow outside his home in Montreal. He positioned it so it appeared to be parked along the side of the road, and with the weather Montreal has been having lately, a car buried under snow wasn’t an unusual sight.

A police officer spotted the car and was prepared to write it a ticket before noticing it wasn’t what it seemed. He called in backup to confirm that the car wasn’t a car at all.

Instead of getting mad, the officers shared a good laugh over it. “You made our night hahahahaha :)" they wrote on a fake ticket left on the snow sculpture.

The masterpiece was plowed over the next morning, but you can appreciate Laprise’s handiwork in the photos below.

Snow sculpture.

Snow sculpture of car.

Snow sculpture of car.

Note written in French.

[h/t WGCL-TV]

All images courtesy of Simon Laprise.

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