Mega Hysterical Machine

An interactive robotic art installation by
Bill Vorn
Montréal (Québec) Canada
© 2010



The Mega Hysterical Machine is a supersized version of the original Hysterical Machine. It is eight times the size of the Hysterical Machine in volume and weight.

The first prototype of the Hysterical Machine (renamed Prehysterical Machine) has been presented at the Sentient Circuitry show at the Walter Philips Gallery (Banff) in 2002. Since then, we have built ten more machines inspired by the prehysterical prototype that are part of a larger scale environment. The Mega Hysterical Machine is the latest version of the robot.

The Mega Hysterical Machine has a spherical body and eight arms made of aluminum tubing. It has a sensing system, a motor system and a control system that functions as an autonomous nervous system (entirely reactive). It is suspended from the ceiling and its arms are actuated by pneumatic valves and cylinders. Ultrasound sensors allow the robot to detect the presence of viewers in the nearby environment. It reacts to the viewers according to the amount of stimuli it receives. The perceived emergent behaviors of this machine engender a multiplicity of interpretations based on single dynamic pattern of events.

The aim of this project is to induce empathy of the viewer towards characters which are nothing more than articulated metal structures. The strength of the simulacra is emphasized by perverting the perception of the creatures, which are neither animals nor humans, carried through the inevitable instinct of anthropomorphism and projection of our internal sensations, a reflex triggered by any phenomenon that challenges our senses.




• ICRA-X Exhibition, ICRA 2019
(Montreal, Canada)
From May 20 to 22, 2019

• Biennale internationale des arts numériques BIAN 2016
(Montreal, Canada)
From June 3 to July 3, 2016

• Noviembre Electrónico Festival
(Buenos Aires, Argentina)
From November 13 to 23, 2014

• Soft Metal, Centre des arts d'Enghien-les-Bains
(Enghien-les-Bains, France)
From January 22 to March 23, 2014

• La Nuit Industrielle, Théâtre des Salins
(Martigues, France)
August 31, 2013

• Les nouveaux monstres
(Toulouse, France)
From February 25 to March 10, 2011



High Resolution Pictures


Mega Hysterical Machine, 13.6 MB, TIFF format, 300 dpi, 3008 x 2000


Mega Hysterical Machine, 12.2 MB, TIFF format, 300 dpi, 2000 x 3008

QuickTime Movie


Mega Hysterical Machine in the Hexagram Black Box, 87 MB, QuickTime format, 720 x 480, 1:56 min

YouTube Movie

Mega Hysterical Machine in the Hexagram Black Box

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