Archetypal Robots and Giant Donuts

Perfect Family by Eric Joyner
Perfect Family by Eric Joyner









‘Robots and Donuts’ is an exhibition of paintings by the artist Eric Joyner. This show, promoting his book of the same name, is on display at the Museum of Robots in Second Life. If you (like me) have always liked those archetypal robot figures of the 1950s and 1960s you will enjoy seeing this work.

Malfunction Bay by Eric Joyner
Malfunction Bay by Eric Joyner

Joyner’s robots have an endearingly mournful air. It is hard for a robot to smile and this exhibition shows how care worn a robot can be. Clearly they have many concerns, issues with anger management (see above) and feelings of despondency. I can understand this, not because I am a robot, or am I? (See Botgirl Lives for more on such musings). I was thinking more about a friend who came from a family of four boys. Their father loved clockwork, battery operated, and remote control toy robots giving each boy a number of robots to play with. One day the four boys were angry with their father, and made their entire robot collection walk the plank out of their bedroom window. They even managed to set some on fire before they took their walk into electromagnetic infinity. Eric Joyner’s robots know about these things, you can see it in their eyes.

Usual Suspects Eric Joyner
Usual Suspects Eric Joyner

In the background (above) is the painting ‘The Usual Suspects’. In the foreground you can see Cyberloom (dressed up in her robotic party frock) spending rather too long chatting to two swivel chairs believing them to be distant relatives.

Fog of War by Eric Joyner
The Fog of War by Eric Joyner

‘The Fog of War’ depicts a battle with 300 foot high donuts, the dreaded arch enemy of Joyner’s robots. Following my visit to the ‘Robots and Donuts’ exhibition I was intrigued to see this report on the BBC . This news segment shows the US military testing out a robotic suit, they have already spent “tens of millions of dollars on development…” For a moment I had a vision of America declaring war on giant donuts. Some health experts might even agree that the real ‘axis of evil’ is the American diet? I then began speculating on how big a donut we could make in reality? Say we took one busy Dunkin Donut shop and poured a week’s worth of batter into a giant deep fat fryer, how big would the donut be?

Weary Traveller by Eric Joyner
Weary Traveller by Eric Joyner

‘Weary Traveler’ depicts a beautiful scene with its glimpse into the virtual world of Joyner’s imagination. We see a robot napping close to the edge of a cliff… and realise we are the robots.

For more information visit Eric Joyner’s own website and blog at

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