How do you make it appear as if a robot has emotions? That is the $6.6 million question. The National Gallery of Australia unveils its latest commission, Body Sculpture, to the public on Saturday, a $6.6M animatronic sculpture by American artist Jordan Wolfson. It features two robots - one a mechanical arm that looks as if it belongs in a factory and the other, a metal box with humanoid arms and hands, that's held captive by a chain. Wolfson joined forces with roboticist Mark Setrakian - who has worked on TV and film productions including Men in Black and Stranger Things - to develop a 30-minute performance in three acts. "I wanted Body Sculpture to have three climaxes," Wolfson wrote in the accompanying catalogue. "The first is after the assault scene when the sculpture loses control of itself, touching itself. The second is at the end of the drum scene when the sculpture opens its arms in 'embrace' as the robotic arm collects the chain and resets. "The third is at the very end when the sculpture lowers to the ground and suddenly becomes still." For content reasons, anyone under the age of 15 is required to be accompanied by an adult. For safety reasons, children under 12 are asked to sit during the performance. According to Wolfson, it's a work that positions the viewer in a physical and moral confrontation with issues facing society, to witness the darkness within the human condition. National Gallery of Australia director Nick Mitzevich adds that Body Sculpture, along with Jordan's two other animatronic sculptures, are defining works of the past decade, pushing the boundaries of what we expect from a work of art by combining performance, sculpture, robotics and sound to create compelling and unsettling experiences. Critics, however, are already wondering if the work is worthy of the National Collection. And it seems, the American artist welcomes any debate around his work, and indeed has faced controversy for previous works. "I'm grateful for your interests, whichever bias you may have. I'm still grateful for it," he said at a media preview on Thursday. It's been five-and-half years since the National Gallery first met with Wolfson to discuss the work they would eventually commission. Core to that decision process, Mitzevich said, was the gallery's mission to collect art that defines the 20th and 21st century, as well as the works that have informed it. "Developing a National Collection it's not about taste. It's a science," he said. "There's one thing that will validate that and that's time and over the last 50 years, the National Gallery and its directors have done an exceptional job of assembling a collection that both reflects history and our place in it. "One factor that has always been a reoccurring theme in art and history is that the edge always becomes the middle ground. And it doesn't matter if it's art, science or technology, things that appear edgy and that appear new, that could be strange, could be curious or could be shocking, invariably become the middle ground. "And we're confident that the works we acquire may appear to be shocking, and curious and on the edge, but invariably, over time, they become a stable middle ground." Mitzevich added that Body Sculpture was a work that needed to be experienced. Liken it to a film or theatre production that cannot be judged before witnessing it, he said the same approach was needed for Wolfson's work. Body Sculpture will be on show from Saturday until April 28. For a free ticket go to nga.gov.au.