Client: Burning Man

Location: Black Rock City, NV, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $150,000

Project Team


Andrea Greenlees


Andy Tibbetts

Lost Machine Design LLC

Digital Design

Josh Haywood

Hylemo Ltd


BEBOT is a cute, friendly, 35 feet tall silver robot, originally created for Burning Man in 2018. It is an immensely strong climbing frame made of tubular steel, with squat fat legs that provide a ladder to the inside of the round body and from there up into the head where Burners could sit inside the openings for the eyes, ears and mouth on horizontal circular planes. One arm reaches across the body to the heart signifying that BEBOT has feelings and one arm is raised waving in greeting. The heart is made of beaten copper, curved antennae emerge from the head, finished with copper spheres at the top, and a pointed devil’s tail curls out unexpectedly from the back of the body, suggesting that all may not be as innocent as it seems.


BEBOT is a participatory and experiential art installation. An endearing comic book robot built on a huge scale but undeniably cute, this installation is intended primarily for play but conceptually it explores aspects of robotics that should concern us. ‘Cuteness’ is already the dominant aesthetic of digital culture and features heavily in the design of robots for use in the home. Cuteness triggers in us a desire to approach and engage with the cute object. Emotional engineering of home robots lowers our barriers to privacy and clouds our perception of risk. Friendly, empathetic robots are being made to be companions, but is this all trickery and deceit? Simulated feeling is not true feeling, but does it really matter? Could a robot be a more reliable companion than a human? Can a responsive robot, even if it is only producing scripted responses, dispel loneliness?


Working from the original hand drawings by the artist Andrea Greenlees, Josh Haywood of Hylemo produced a detailed 3D model, 2D CAD layout and digital visualizations for master steelworker Andy Tibbetts to fabricate Bebot in Reno.

Additional Information

In December 2018 Bebot was acquired by Post Bros in Philadelphia PA and in January 2019 it was installed in Northern Liberties to be the flagship installation welcoming the public to a new multi-use park called the Piazza Pod Park, featuring cafes and small businesses in repurposed shipping containers. The site had previously been a dirt lot used for parking. In September 2019 the Piazza Pod Park was honoured to win the 'Commercial Project Transformation of the Year' category in the ADAPT Awards. Bebot played its part by clearly demonstrating the power of public art to draw people to a once desolate area and to transform the experience and perception of a place.