INTERNET: http://www.srl.org

SRL is currently preparing machines for a performance in the SF Bay Area in conjunction with Web98 in June, a possible show in Oakland, and another in Chicago. Stay tuned to SRL.ORG for late-breaking information.

Recent Activities:

SRL has staged two events thus far in 1997. One " Increasing the Latent Period in a System of Remote Destructibility" was presented on July 13th in Tokyo. The second, occurred in Austin, Texas on March 28th 1997 at the Longhorn Speedway. It was entitled "The Unexpected Destruction of Elaborately Engineered Artifacts : A Misguided Adventure in Risk Eradication, Happening Without Known cause, in Connection With Events That are Not Necessarily Related".

For the Tokyo event, Mark Pauline and Eric Paulos traveled to the Inter Communications Center in downtown Tokyo. In the 600 lbs of baggage they carried were two machines: A Track Robot, similar to the devices used by police and military to defuse explosives, and the Button Panel machine, Using a tetherless control and video transmission system the Track Robot was operated through a standard internet browser window. A CuSeeMe image window provided a view for operator control. Back in SF, at SRL HQ, the Air launcher was on line via ISDN and connected to a local server to allow for control and video acquisition. The Japan portion of the event took place at the ICC gallery located in the new 24 story NTT complex in downtown Tokyo.

A live audience of 200 was present at the gallery. The event was broadcast live over nationwide satellite TV by Perfect TV. In this 20 minute event, the Track Robot approached the Button Panel and began pressing the five buttons mounted on it. This caused its arms to flail violently about and resulted in the 4 large squid tied to the ends of the arms to slap the floor and eventually fly about the room. This in turn sent signals to a computer on the network which were transmitted to the Air Launcher in SF. To expedite the live broadcast, Eric Paulos then controlled both devices via the browser window, using the two CuSeeMe windows as a visual control reference. Moving targets in SF were destroyed by live explosive and inert concrete rounds to the accompaniment of screams from the SRL crew in SF. By these actions SRL became the first to operate intentionally lethal machinery over the net with standard browser software. This event was sponsored by The Intercommunications Center and curated by Hisanori Gogata.

The Austin event was the largest ever mounted outside of SF to date. The venue itself was a 1/4 mile oval racetrack with fixed seating for 4500 persons, located just south of Austin. An assortment of unusual prop and set elements were built and used to fill the 500' long area inside the oval track.

Among the items in this spectacular backdrop were, a 30 ft hydraulically actuated boat disaster prop, a 35' high triangular tower with an entire cow spiked on a rotating spit, a Black Cat fireworks stand filled with assorted explosives, the ultra tacky Clown Box, the Bubba Crane, (a junkyard drop crane, rigged to drop a 60's era- dune buggy from a height of 25' over and over again), and for a distinctly local flavor, a 1/2 scale replica of the University Tower, site of the Charles Whitman massacre, was constructed and used as the set centerpiece. Several new devices were debuted for this event including the Large Shock Wave Cannon, (a 4x scaled version of smaller, window shattering designs), the Boeing Jet / Flame Whistle, and the Hand-O-God, (which was mounted on the Bomb Loader). New contributions from the People Hater crew included the Coffin Bot and the Tractorbot. As show time arrived, a record breaking 4700 people passed through the gates. Festivities began with a blistering run around the track by Deszo in the Jet Cart. The mayhem commenced with the Big Arm dashing a puppet motorcyclist to the ground while the Bubba Winch proceeded to obliterate the Dune Buggy. Crew members commenced to fire parachute flares in the air, 60 in all (some of these ignited fires in the surrounding wooded areas when they failed to extinguish themselves before landing). Machines jockeyed for position as the Large Shock Wave Cannon proceeded to brutalize the audience, literally knocking them around in the stands for the entire show. The V-1 emerged and wound its way to the Spiked Cow, where it proceeded to roast the carcass. Christian's Subjugator perpetrated spectacular mayhem on the Boat Disaster Prop as the Clown Box suffered the indignation's of the Meter maid Cart and its Flameballs. As the action raged, and machines slipped slowly into disrepair, the Flame Whistle and the V-1 set enormous fires that engulfed numerous most of the set elements including the University Tower Prop and the Carnival tent. With the unforgettable collapse of the 55' Tower, machine activity eventually ground to a halt...

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Eric Paulos his crew and Monsterbit Media, the entire event was broadcast via a T-1 point to point microwave link. According to an article in Webweek magazine this was a technical first for a webcast. The signal went out over a Real Video server to waiting viewers unable to attend the event in person.

Video Releases

Allen Kelly is furiously editing the SRL Austin tape and the Crimewave and Wired show. Both of these tapes will be released in November 1997. The Austin tape will be released as a separate tape. The Crimewave/Wired tape will include those two events as well as the 1996 Halloween V-1 firing outside the Roxie theater, the Minna St. event that occurred the same evening and a short edit of the Japan show, "Increasing the Latent Period in a System of Remote Destructibility".
SRL released the video documentation of "SRL Contemplates: A Million Inconsiderate Experiments in Phoenix AZ." edited by Allen Kelly Directed by Dave Scardina, on Dec. 23rd. 1996

Events from the Recent Past:

SRL staged three events between Nov. 26, 1995 and Jan. 26th 1996. Two of these shows were staged in San Francisco and one in Phoenix Arizona.

  1. "SRL Contemplates: A Million Inconsiderate Experiments in Phoenix AZ." Jan. 26th 1996. in where else? Phoenix AZ
  2. Earlier that month, on Jan. 9th, SRL staged a small indoor event in SF which was sponsored by Wired Magazine. It was held in conjunction with their Macworld party and took place in the Red Room at the Sound Factory.
  3. On November 28th, SRL staged the "Crime Wave" show in a lot at 500 Beale St. in San Francisco.

Recently Completed Devices and Devices Under Construction

 
A Track Robot, similar to the devices used by police and military to defuse explosives, and the Button Panel machine with flailing arms, were constructed for the Japan event at the ICC. Using a tetherless control and video transmission system the Track Robot can be operated remotely through a standard internet browser window. The Button Panel device can relay control signals through a serial port to other machines.

The WheeloCopter project was delayed by the two recent SRL events. Construction is once again actively underway. It will be tested this winter and will debut at the next SRL event (scheduled for late fall or early spring in the Bay Area). This radical concept in wheeled vehicles applies the principles of rotor craft to a two dimensional plane. It will be one of the largest devices, and the most complex ever built at SRL. Its as difficult to describe as it will be for an audience to look at. See image (above) for more confusion.

The Boeing Jet was modified for the Austin event by the addition of a large police whistle. Fuel injectors were added along with an ignition system, thereby creating the loudest flamethrower in history.

The Hand-O-God is a giant spring loaded hand cocked by a hydraulic cylinder with 8 tons of pressure. It was finished in April 97 and debuted at the SRL event in Austin, attached to the Remote Controlled Bomb Loader. It was recently modified to enhance its bone-crushing powers.

An Exocet Cruise Missile engine is currently being set up and tested on an engine stand. This 900 lb thrust engine will form the basis for a large VTOL robot.


Hand-O-God

Parts have been collected for computer-controlled Hydraulic Walking Leg Sets, capable of supporting and moving objects weighing 40 or more tons, in the manner of groups of foraging ants. The power plant is a 175 hp Boeing gas turbine engine. This will be SRLs first mobile jet engine powered device.

Publications and Television

SRL was filmed at the SRL compound on Oct 11, 1997 for a feature documentary entitled "Sightings" produced for the Sci-Fi Channel. This 2 hour documentary will air in early 1998 in the US.

PBS produced a radio piece on the SRL show in Austin which aired nationwide in Oct. 1997.

SRL was filmed in April 1996 for the "Cyberspace" series produced by Antelope TV in London. The seven part series was aired in the UK spring 1997. It was shown on US cable in Summer 1997.

A lengthy chapter of Mark Dery's book "Escape Velocity" is devoted to SRL. Recommended reading for anyone trying to get a handle on the 21st century today. Grove Press 1996.

Mark Pauline / markp@srl.org