Robotic arms depict athletic motions in a Zen garden, in Jason Bruges’ Tokyo installation

As the Tokyo Olympics are in full swing, a new performative robotic art installation by British art studio Jason Bruges has been revealed in the city’s Ueno Park, as part of the games’ cultural programme, the Tokyo Tokyo FESTIVAL Special 13. Analysing past footage from a vast range of sport and physical activities, The Constant Gardeners aims to make what its creators call “a visual language” to depict athletic motions. The robots within the installation produce representations of movements which the “gardeners”, a team of four industrial robot arms mounted on linear rails, rake into a gravel canvas.

The practice is inspired by the act of raking sand and gravel beds in traditional Japanese Zen gardens which is intended to represent ripples in water and induce meditative states. The act attempts to strip nature back through an insistence on minimalism.

The “gardeners” will work together daily to form roughly a hundred and fifty illustrations throughout the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The British design studio led by Jason Bruges wishes to explore relationships between nature and technology through the installation, which it hopes will encourage visitors to reconnect with their surroundings.

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