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Elmo and the evil imperialists

Reconfigured robotic toys performing military maneuvers in rigid choreographed formations are featured in a new artistic work, “A Re-enactment of The Battle of the Pyramids,” by New York City College of Technology’s (City Tech) Adrianne Wortzel, to be presented March 3, 7:30 p.m. at Light Industry at Industry City (, 220 36th Street (between Second and Third avenues in Brooklyn), fifth floor.

Wortzel, a professor of entertainment technology at City Tech, created this performance installation as a testimony to “the tragic consequences of imperialism and the dangers, follies and sadness of a rationale for blind obedience that makes victims out of warriors,” she says.

The work features clusters of Elmo TMX robotic toys (stripped of their red furry coats) snapping to synchronization in response to a call to arms, their movements emulating the rigid and postured fighting strategies of Napoleonic warfare. “These strategies, employed in Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign, were particularly idiosyncratic in Egypt where they were persistently performed without consideration of either the desert environment or the fighting strategies of the enemy,” Wortzel explains.

Admission is $7. For more, the public may email

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