It's two in the morning, the half-eaten burrito has lost its flare, and your roommate, being the saint he is, took it upon himself to drink the last beer, and so you find yourself surfin' the net.
Suddenly, as you attempt to enter smutysmut.com, something odd happens. There's a flicker and loud raygun sound, but you shake it off, dismissing it as a side effect of all that tinfoil-wrapped grub you unearthed at the party last night. Only now, when your eyes wander back to the screen, you find yourself at the homepage of Survival Research Labs.
Your life may never be the same as you browse through the history and imagery of SF's most eccentric, and perhaps, most dangerous designers. They're robotics creators who are deep into making big mechanical beasts that pound each other to shreds. Since SRL's formation in 1978, the organization has managed to put on over 45 shows with titles like "Further Explorations in Lethal Experimentation," "A Calculated Forecast of Ultimate Doom: Sickening Episodes of Widespread Devastation Accompanied by Sensations of Pleasurable Excitement," and "A Million Inconsiderate Experiments."
Their machines are wicked deadly and loud -- very, very loud. Even if you consider yourself a noise connoisseur, come show time you'll probably want some of those glow green plugs stuffed deep in your ears. Trust me, they'll help stop the bleeding. Just so you know how perfectly entertaining and volatile these shows are, here are some tidbits on a couple of SRL's latest terrors:
"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 flame thrower 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."
The SRL site will give you lots more info on the organization's history, creators, interviews, employment (if you're crazy like that), and lots of imagery of the shows and creations. And if you do decide to run on down to an SRL show, give a little thought to the words of SRL designer Liisa Pine: "You have to watch your ass! It's a dangerous environment."
-- Brian Forsyth
MTV College Stringer
(August 4, 1998)