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Ragtag robot artwork destined for Columbia city building

Thursday, February 7, 2013 | 6:05 p.m. CST; updated 9:22 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 7, 2013
Greg Orloff carries the head of Lumen, a robot sculpture, from P.S. Gallery into Holder Susan Slusher Oxenhandler Law Firm on Dec. 3. Lumen was built as part of the Ragtag Needs Robots fundraising campaign.

COLUMBIA – When a 14-year-old Greg Orloff picked up a few shock absorbers off the side of the street, he never would have guessed that they would end up in a piece of his artwork.

The shock absorbers are in the legs of the life-sized robot named "Lumen" that was used as the mascot for Ragtag Needs Robots!, an online Kickstarter campaign created by Ragtag Cinema to finance new digital projector systems.

Orloff fashioned the piece out of recycled objects such as typewriter parts, brackets from kitchen drawers and old parts from his own truck. "Lumen" also possesses myriad details like a chainsaw motor heart, camera lens eyes and a metal bow tie.

On Tuesday, the Columbia Commission on Cultural Affairs will consider accepting the gift from Ragtag. Chris Stevens, manager of the Office of Cultural Affairs, said he expects Columbia City Council to sign off on the gift as soon as mid-March.

There are plans to put the sculpture in the visitors center lobby in the Daniel Boone City Building, Stevens said. 

"It's pretty amazing. It's a really big honor and I'm very grateful for this opportunity," Orloff said about his sculpture's prospective home.

The sculpture, commissioned by Ragtag to represent their digital conversion fundraiser, was once considered to be sold as part of the campaign, but didn't need to because of the campaign's success.

"We saw this as a way to say thank you to this community that supported us," Josh Oxenhandler, past president of Ragtag Programming for Film and Media Art, an organization that oversees the cinema and the True/False Film Fest.

Oxenhandler will continue housing "Lumen" in the front window of his law office on Seventh Street until the move to city hall.

"Now it can be appreciated by the public, and visitors can see one of the things that makes Columbia so unique," he said.

Stevens said the artwork represented the importance of Ragtag and the film festival to the city. "We thought it would be a fun way to greet visitors."

Supervising editor is John Schneller.


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