Craft & Design
Yes, There is a Robotic Penis Wall at Maker Faire This Year
Artist and her creation
Artist Peiqi Su building her creation.

Maker Faire has always straddled a line of edgy and educational, a blend that makes it a magical, must-see event year after year. There’s no where else, for instance, where you can learn how solder while being sandwiched next to super-sized, fire-belching metal statues. And while this year’s World Maker Faire New York, opening Saturday at the New York Hall of Science, is no different, one particular exhibit has everyone talking.

It’s a wall of robotic penises.

The creation, made by Peiqi Su as part of her thesis project for NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, consists of 81 articulating penises that can move in response to realtime changes in the stock market, to the viewers movement, or to any other input set by the creator. The piece is an immediate attention-getter and a fascinating piece of art.

There were several internal conversations at Make: about including it in this year’s event, but in the end, the art of the piece spoke loudest. “It’s a form of expression based on human anatomy, and it’s done by an artist who is interested in how you respond to it,” explains Make: founder and CEO Dale Dougherty.

We would love attendees to the Faire to see the piece and determine their feelings about it. The display is located inside a closed tent that is clearly labelled, so there won’t be any surprises and it can be avoided if the subject matter makes you uncomfortable. Its artistic expression will hopefully resonate with everyone, but if not, there are hundreds of other enjoyable things to see and do at the event.

2 thoughts on “Yes, There is a Robotic Penis Wall at Maker Faire This Year

    1. Only if you’re afraid of them seeing robotic penises. Since most of my kids have penises, and even the one that doesn’t has seen plenty of penises already – when I changed her younger brother’s diaper, when she looks at animals outside, when we read a book about how babies are made, etc. etc. I have no problem with my kids seeing penises that aren’t even real.

    1. Might be a good idea to home-school her, keep the computer locked away, and have her wear a burqa when she is in public; in fact, just lock her in the basement until she is 18, that way you’ll be sure she won’t be “damaged” by anything you deem unnatural.

      1. Really? Not wanting to expose a ten year old girl to a wall of sex toys seems like the equivalent of locking her in a basement to you. You, sir, are a very deeply effed up person, and I sincerely hope you are not a parent. Get help, please.

        1. Suggest you get help reading articles….
          “The display is located inside a closed tent that is clearly labelled, so there won’t be any surprises and it can be avoided if the subject matter makes you uncomfortable.”

        2. They aren’t sex toys and there is no problem with girls seeing penises!!!!!

          You are a such a jerk. Only people with body-shaming, Puritanical, anti-everything attitudes are good parents?????!

    2. I can understand your concern. The exibit is inside a closed tent that is clearly labelled. No one is going to see it on accident. While we do feel it is tastefully done, we are aware that people should be allowed to choose wether or not to see it.

    3. Make sure you avoid those Museums too. Some of them have paintings with women adorning not a single article of clothing while lounging about in suggestive poses. Maybe we can gather all this stuff up, penis-art, nude paintings…oh, and maybe some of those library books too, and start us a good ‘ol fashion barn fire! OR, maybe you can just not go to that part of the exhibit and enjoy the rest of the show. Lighten up.

  1. Not sure it’s place would be at a maker’s fair, more of an art exhibit, though definitely technology played a part in the creation. I’m not afraid of my kids seeing penises… thhey have seen them before. Penises don’t scare us. Just don’t think it’s really a great thing for a maker’s faire.

    1. Why not? What is your “reasoning”? Truthiness? The Maker Faire is about *making* and DIY. What are you assuming it is about?

  2. The issue is that ITP students have been making these type of devices for too long, in the early 2000s there was every variation of this as a “mirror” that took a low res video image and flipped wooden/meta/plastic/mirrored discs of every description to form an image. I guess after discs/squares/others, then you have to progress onto penises…

  3. I suppose these fiberoptic days it’s healthy to develop cautious sensibilities when pornography is a billion dollar industry; however, I hardly think Su’s project deserves to be treated as such. Phallic art has been around for over 28,000 years. #http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4713323.stm Maker’s Faire is the greatest show-and-tell on Earth, so I think it’s fair to say the event is for all kids and families willing to learn and teach.

    Did anyone else misread the caption at first (Freudian) glance?

  4. I saw the penis wall and while I can understand that some people might be put off by this, I did not find it offensive. It is rather humorous and whimsical, I think. It is an interesting art project, and not pornographic. It is anatomically accurate and so if you are afraid of your kids seeing what an adult penis looks like, stay clear of this exhibit. The fair is huge and there are plenty of other things to see. I wouldn’t be too worried about it. My own kids will be at the fair. If they happen to see it, I’ll say, “Yep, that’s a wall of men’s private parts.” It’s no big deal.

    1. A wall of male anatomy reacting in real time to the stock market, or any other input is humorous and whimsical? Would a wall of breasts bouncing to the beat of the foot traffic in the room be whimsical? Just where does the argument, “there are plenty of other things to see” end? Bottom line, this event is billed for people of all ages and family friendly. No matter what relative position you want to take, animatronic penises is not good for all ages. According to the Maker Faire website #http://makerfaire.com/ this event is presented by #Disney. Do they approve of this type of display in a show with their name on the program?

      1. Yes, a wall of breasts bouncing to the beat of the foot traffic in the room would be whimsical. Maybe someone will create that for next year. Good idea! ;-)

      2. What is your “reasoning” for thr comment that this art isn’t family
        friendly? I think the breast idea and this art is whimsical and
        humorous. Disney is a sponsor only and does not determine content. I
        would hope that Disney is pro-Art, pro-Innovation, pro-Creativity, and
        pro-Science/Engineering. Disney is pro-Maker, and pro-G/L/B/(T?) Being
        all of these things is not anti-Family, and can be argued to be
        pro-FAMILY.

        1. And, as long as it is screened from those that do not with to have their tender sensibilities injured or challenged – I don’t see an issue either.

  5. Wow, the responses posted here are, frankly, sad. Do you parents with boys put a cone-of-shame on them so they can’t look down?

    Sure, the artist/Maker likely chose to use a robotic penis because it invokes a response, which means people are talking about the piece. But saying it doesn’t belong at a Maker: Faire is ridiculous. If they were wilting/growing/waving robotic leaves, everyone would be saying how cool it is, and how they want one for their house. Instead, we revert back to our prudish, body-shaming, pretend-genitals-don’t-exist, puritanical roots.

        1. Guessing they won’t take the kids to a county fair – those bulls and rams get raging hard ons that you can’t hide from the poor dears.

  6. I personally dont think the installation was totally relevant to the show, sure the technology is, and having “a module” in/at a booth would have been more in keeping with what I understand the theme of the show to be. When its a 20ft wall of them its harder to postpone some awkward questions that some parents aren’t ready for their kids to be asking.

    Whilst it is definitely art, and I believe all art has merit and should provoke reaction. It is also definitely a piece of *erotic* art, and personally I think that’s the defining part of the argument. As people have mentioned, where do you draw the line? This pretty much alludes to there not being one at all.

      1. erotic
        ɪˈrɒtɪk/
        adjective
        relating to or tending to arouse sexual desire or excitement.

        The penises (penii?) get erect, surely that applies?

        I suppose the installation is not trying to elicit a sexual response from the viewer, but I still think it falls on that side of the spectrum.

        1. If the intent is not to arouse desire or sexual excitement, then it does not qualify. The woman didn’t not intend for anyone to get aroused by it, and I highly doubt that anyone could get aroused by it! So, no, it is definitely not erotica.

  7. Totally not cool. There were kids at the Maker Faire…. there are kids that read this blog. What the heck?!?! I think you guys are going to lose some readers over this one. There has always been a fine thin line been a fine line between art and just plane crap. This belongs on an adult only blog NOT a blog that features kids stuff and has kids on their magazine cover. A teenager might find this funny and OK whatever but I show my 5 year daughter stuff on here and let my very young children read my Make magazines. You guys are crossing the line. Plain retarded and sad. Why don’t you just start posting about 3d printing and smoothing them too! Or the fine art of life like latex casting. Yeah, you know why? Because that would be crossing the line. There are a ton of really good examples of artwork out there without crossing the line. If you want to have it at maker faire behind an age restricted section then great! But please don’t put it on the front page of your blog.

      1. The author is showing very poor taste in my opinion. The choice to erect this article on a blog that is geared to making for all ages is retarded … which means that it shows a lack of intellectual awareness. Therefore retarded. I am 100% certain there are much more worthy things to blog about from the world maker faire. This belongs on a different site. … and in case the reader maybe a bit slow intellectually all puns are intended. Who can resist?

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Mike Senese is the Executive Editor of Make: magazine. He is also a TV host, starring in various engineering and science shows for Discovery Channel, including Punkin Chunkin, How Stuff Works, and Catch It Keep It.

An avid maker, Mike spends his spare time tinkering with electronics, doing amateur woodworking, and attempting to cook the perfect pizza.

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