Saturday, November 29, 2014

Photo Essay: A Robot Christmas Nightmare at Robolights

If you're looking to get into the Christmas spirit – and I'm not sure that I was – Robolights isn't exactly the best place to visit.

It's more of a skull-lined, sci-fi nightmare to tide you over until next Halloween.



The creation of Palm Springs artist Kenny Irwin, who has been working on it for nearly 30 years since he was only 13 years old, Robolights features millions of Christmas lights in the largest residential light display in the U.S...



...where reindeer are stripped down to their skulls...



...and robots have taken over the North Pole...



...in some kind of weird winter apocalypse.



Electronics (microwaves, TVs, video game consoles), machinery parts, and toilets...



...are recycled into herds of sleigh-pulling reindeer.



A rag-tag group of robots painted in various colors and assembled from various found objects...



...loom as visitors wander paths through multiple acres of a Palm Springs backyard.

















It is indescribable.





And it's all pretty much just glued together...



...and painted over.



Although there are some overtly sacred and secular Christmas themes...



...Kenny is actually a converted Muslim...



...clearly obsessed with 1950s sci-fi.



Robolights was closed last year...



...but otherwise is an annual tourist attraction during the holiday season.



This year, animatronics have been added to some of the attractions...



...making the robots – and a toilet carousel – spin around...



... making it feel a bit more menacing, as though the robots really are in revolt.



The attraction is also open for limited daytime tours during the rest of the year – a good opportunity to see all of the detail involved in the fabrication of these retro-futuristic giants, which just as easily could be found at, say, a street art show by Mr. Brainwash.

But I wonder if they'll still be playing the Hindi-tinged Christmas carols in July?

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: Cactus Lights
A First Time for Everything
Photo Essay: Mr. Brainwash Art Show 2011 Closing Night