Washington, D.C.: I read in the Post about the great success of Tom Greaves's street installation "The Compliment Machine," which dishes out compliments to people as they walk by.
Then I read online about an Artomatic artist who had a similar machine called "Sycophant" a few years earlier but had very little notice.
Mr. O'Sullivan: Do you recall the Artomatic machine? Are they similar?
washingtonpost.com: The Art of Gratuitous Praise ( Post, July 21)
Michael O'Sullivan: I do remember "Sycophant" quite well. It was similar to the "Compliment Machine" in that they both dole out compliments, but "Sycophant," by Thomas Edwards, an artist who organizes DC's Dorbot meetings of tech/art people, was not just an impersonal box, but a robotic human head. It was rather hilarious, as I recall, saying things like, "You look really hot" and "I love your sweater."
Was Sycophant: the one next to the talking fish?
Michael O'Sullivan: Yes! That was the one. The fish--an altered version of one of the Big Mouth Billy Bass novelties--shouted out things like: "They're eating my eggs!" By the way, you can find more about the monthly DC Dorbot meetings (where art and tech collide) at http://www.dorkbot.org/dorkbotdc/.
Links: Sycophant, School of Fish Pain, Dorkbot DC