Beggar Robot

Photo: Sašo Sedlaček, Lada Cerar, Hiromitsu Murakami, Olga Chang, 2006,07,08,09,10

Beggar Robot, 2006-

Beggar Robot is a robot for the materially deprived and is constructed entirely from old computer hardware and a few spare parts that were obtained at no cost. As a low-tech, friendly device, it advocates three main ideas in contemporary activism. It is (A) a surrogate agency created for a world in which the marginalized such as impoverished individuals and families, refugees and asylum seekers, elderly people, disabled people, and those hidden from the public view, will never step onto the street to beg, except in the most dire of circumstances. The robot has access to areas normally off-limits to beggars, such as shopping malls and community events, where the richer members of society more often frequent. The hypothesis is that this part of society is only able to show some sympathy towards the marginalized if they communicate from a safe distance and via a technological interface. The project tests and exploits the advantages of robotic interface by bringing his Beggar Robot to public spaces in different countries and adapting it to the local context and local language, to beg in the name of the poor. The project is both a social experiment and a low-key, humourous charity action, which raises public awareness of invisible deprivation and possible remedies.

Beggar Robot (compilation), 2008, 6’40”

As a machine built out of computer parts recycled from the ever-growing electronic junkyards, the robot (B) also bears an environmental consciousness for a world dominated by the ideology of endless development. Moreover, the robot (C) advocates the concepts of open source and do-it-yourself tactics and their consequences for social action, by allowing people to freely make their own copy of the robot. Anyone interested in obtaining the instructions of how to build their own robot replica can leave a contact with the robot, or go to the artist’s website.

Manray Hsu


Beggar Robots were also made by others, following the DIY Instructions. The two examples bellow show a Robotino Mendicante made in Milano and Beggar robot made in Luxemburg.

Robottino Mendicante. Following the instructions, ISOLA Art Centre and the students at the Rosa Giovane high school in Milan assembled their own robot and presented it in the streets of Milan.Photo: Bert Theis & Mariette Schiltz, 2010

Kaspar König’s Beggar. Kaspar König from Luxembourg assembles his own Beggar Robot. Photo: Nienke Deutz,Clark Boyd, Luxemburg, 2011

Make your own robot (DIY Instrcutions)

[symple_button color=”orange” url=”″ title=”Dowload” target=”blank” border_radius=””]Download DIY instructions[/symple_button]

Beggar Robot 1.01/ Qi Gai, Taipei, Taiwan
Production: Taipei Fine Art Museum, Taiwan, 2008

Video: 16’20”


Beggar Robot 2.0/ Monogoi Roboto, Tokyo, Japan
Production: IAMAS-institute of Advanced Media art and Science, Ogaki, Japan, 2006

Video: 12’44”


Beggar Robot 1.0
Production: Gallery Kapelica, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2006

Video: 4’30”


Rent a Beggar,
Production: P74 Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2007

Documentary video about the problem of begging for money. Artist rented the Beggar Robot to the real beggars that could use the machine to do the dirty work of collecting money instead of them. Because of the symbolist –aesthetic categories of the robot it has advantages compared with human beggar, because it can enter into spaces that are off limit to real beggars. But video doesn’t shows only problems of certain groups of people that exist on the margins of society- robot also presents a strategy of improvement of beggar conditions, higher efficiency, higher viability, essentially it shows the problems of modern society, that concern everyone not just beggars.

Video: 19’30”