Art director Barry McWilliams had an unusual idea for a coffee table tome: a catalog for a corporation that never actually existed. The company he created was an "automatonical, robotical, bespoke flower delivery" business, started by the fictional "Rodrick R. Wrylon" a little over a hundred years ago, featuring tiny, adorable, mobile flower-delivering robots. The history of the company is narrated via McWilliam's Kickstarter video:
Flower-delivering robots, across town, across country, worldwide; Wrylon's robots connected loved ones and never failed to deliver, until they vanished. The bots disappeared, the greenhouses shuttered, the founder went missing. All that's left of a pioneering business is an old catalog and a few newspaper clippings.
The Kickstarter project has already reached its goal of $5,500, but funding the the project on the website still gets backers a "reprint" of the final catalog, and may reopen the mysteries of the vanishing robotics company.
The real story behind it? In an email to the Huffington Post, McWilliams says there's not much of a story:
The idea of a robot who delivers flowers is about two years old. I just doodled the first randomly. I like robots (I was raised on science fiction) and it's fun to draw non-fighting robots & mechs for a change. Nearly all robots seem to be military 'bots and I wondered what else they could be. The idea stuck around for a little while and then I ended up painting a watercolor of a flower-delivering robot for a girl. She liked it (we're not together but we're still friends) and I thought there might be more to it.
McWilliams says he originally thought to turn the bots into a gallery show, but eventually decided that a self-published catalog would be "more feasible." Currently, the catalog is scheduled to print in December, and retail at $20 a pop. And if the project is successful, McWilliams says, the story won't end with the catalog: "There's a lot to the story that's not in this book...I'd like to see about telling more of the story." In a BoingBoing piece, he elaborates:
I like the absurdity of it -- robots who delivers flowers. It’s both personal and impersonal (robotical?) at the same time. I like that, with an exception or two, the robots deliver only one flower at a time. What could be less cost-effective or less efficient than sending a robot around the world to deliver one, single flower? But I’d sure as hell do it to impress a girl.
Want a preview? Take a look at the newest Wrylon sketches in the slideshow below.
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