Anne Robinson, Karen Saxby
ROBOTS 1:1 explores the space-themed toys in the R. F. Robot Collection held by the Vitra Design Museum. Largely produced in Japan between 1937 and 1973, these figures of robots (and the occasional astronaut) have been carefully researched and compiled over the years by Rolf Fehlbaum, Chairman Emeritus of Vitra and founder of the Vitra Design Museum, who describes them as »small kinetic sculptures of great originality.
Ever since the term’s first appearance in Czech writer Karel Čapek’s science fiction play »R. U. R.« in 1921, robots have both served and taken over the work of humans, creating human dependency and at times a shift in the power dynamics of a society. ROBOTS 1:1 is unique in that it shows the toys and their original packaging (when available) in a scale of 1:1, with the largest robot determining the size of the book. In this way, it conveys something of the uncanny nature of the robots and their ambivalence, while the vivid illustrations on the boxes give an idea of the futuristic fantasies developed over the period.
ROBOTS 1:1 is limited to an edition of 1,000 copies, numbered and signed by Rolf Fehlbaum. A USB stick with 34 short films demonstrating a selection of robots in action is integrated into the spine of the book, alongside a poster featuring 80 robots in chronological order of their release.