The new robot on campus

The R.U.R. robot sculpture

The R.U.R. robot sculpture

An eight-metre long sculpture of a robot named R.U.R. has found its new home at the Clayton Campus Centre. 

R.U.R. is the creation of sculptor Ronnie Van Hout, commissioned by Satellite Art Projects, and unveiled during the 2008 Melbourne Art Fair.

Originally from New Zealand, Mr Van Hout has called Melbourne home since the 1990s. He has an extensive history of international exhibitions in countries including Germany, Austria, Lithuania and the United States.

He has described his work as examining his “artistic self”, with many pieces reflections of the artist acting out public identities, social stereotypes and the way he perceives his own public persona.

R.U.R. is made from high-density polystyrene and finished with dark resin. Its position on the ground means that R.U.R has been described as “defying conventional notions of civic sculpture”, which traditionally feature upright memorials to heroic figures. 

"The feeling of empathy that we could have for the robot is for something that appears fallen. Something that has failed. This feeling can also allude to a fear of success, or a fear to stand up and be judged for what we do,” Mr Van Hout said.

Before the move, R.U.R. resided on the paving in front of the Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) where museum visitors and passersby were invited to sit on, touch or engage with the robot.

As part of the Clayton landscape, R.U.R. will play a similar role – a meeting point, a talking piece of sorts, and a place for the Clayton community to gather.