This machine could bite

•– This Machine Could Bite —————————-

The Australian online journal Fibreculture’s special issue on Creative Robotics is now available! The issue features 8 articles by academics and artists on themes such as creative robots on Mars, non-organic intelligence, working with the most famous humanoid robots, failing robots and more… My contribution to the journal is an article titled This Machine Could Bite, On the Role of Non-Benigh Art Robots. I make a case for experimentation in human robot interaction with machines not designed for being useful or friendly.

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Article abstract:

“The social robot’s current and anticipated roles as butler, teacher, receptionist or carer for the elderly share a fundamental anthropocentric bias: they are designed to be benign, to facilitate a transaction that aims to be both useful to and simple for the human. At a time when intelligent machines are becoming a tangible prospect, such a bias does not leave much room for exploring and understanding the ongoing changes affecting the relation between humans and our technological environment. Can art robots – robots invented by artists – offer a non-benign-by-default perspective that opens the field for a machine to express its machinic potential beyond the limits imposed by an anthropocentric and market-driven approach? The paper addresses these questions by considering and contextualising early cybernetic machines, current developments in social robotics, and art robots by the author and other artists.”

Llawn Festival Llandudno

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Today’s view of the Llandudno promenade, North Wales.

I am here invited by Llawn04 Festival (Llawn = full in Welsh) in their own words:, “The Llandudno Art Weekend – LLAWN – a whole weekend of free events along the Promenade and across various venues and spaces in Llandudno. There’ll be performance, street-games, music, robot-making, dance, visual-art, film and the unexpected all inspired by this year’s theme of Hide/Seek.”

The festival is totally packed with an eclectic collection of engaging events, all free! Do come along with friends and families!

Bobby wearing Tech Head

Bobby wearing Tech Head

For regulars to this patchy blog, it will be pretty obvious that I have something to do with the robot-making mentioned in Llawn’s promo blurb. I will run a free Wrekshop on Saturday and Sunday 10:30 to 18:00, open to all people above 7 years of age and not wearing flip flops.

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Also on show a short performance for the opening of the festival. Usual suspects robotic ears, bird and Mofo have travelled in their cavernous suitcase and will stretch their circuits in Oriel Mostyn Gallery on Friday at 19:30.

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And good old Combover Jo will have a chat with anyone walking down the tube in Oriel Mostyn for the next 3 weeks.

Combover Jo vs D. Trump

Ok, here we go, my turn to trump.

I was doing some software adjustments on my new robot Combover Jo in Manchester Art Gallery today and one of the invigilators told me that the robot was nick-named Donald Trump by the team. I think it is unfair.

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The Imitation Game – performance

As part of The Imitation Game exhibition, I performed with a selection of my little robotic sidekicks in Manchester Art Gallery, Thursday 10th March at 7PM. The show was called:

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Official blurb:

“Paul Granjon explores the co-evolution of humans and machines with robotic installations such as I Am Robot, presented here, but also with small machines made especially for live performances.
On March 10th he will deliver a performance-lecture including a selection of hand-made machines and cyborg songs, as well as up-to-date views on humans and robots. A one-off chance for visitors to catch up with Granjon and his robotic sidekicks live!”

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The gig went well, attended by a nice crowd, the machines almost did not glitch and I possibly sang less off-key than usual. Mofo and Combover Jo made a new young friend, who I wish will live to see a future where humans and friendly artificial creatures share the planet in a totally environmentally responsible and non-profit-driven fashion :>))

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Robots and Dogs

Boston Dynamics posted a new video of their quadruped robot Spot, this time accompanied by a cute biological quadruped terier. So far the two species do not seem to get along too well…

Which confirms the findings of this older experiment with an Aibo and a German Shepherd (2006).

The Imitation Game

Getting ready for The Imitation Game, a group exhibition in Manchester Art Gallery where 8 artists explore the theme of machines and the imitaion of life. More details here.

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I was commissioned to make a new robot installation called Am I Robot for the show, still in the finishing stages in my Cardiff studio. I am looking forward to the show the features classic works by Lynn Hershman and Mari Velonaki (pictured), as well as several new pieces by Ed Atkins, Tove Kjellmark, Yu-Chen Wang and more…

Opens 12th February.

Assemble wins Turner Prize

The collective of socially engaged architects Assemble won the Turner Prize last night. I am a big fan of their very inclusive “useful art”. They were shortlisted for the Turner Prize for their gentle yet ground-breaking regeneration work in the Granby area of Liverpool.

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Check the video about the Granby Workshop, a new social enterprise making handmade products for homes. The workshop is run by local residents. The products are created with hand-made techniques, using some disused building materials and other locally sourced recyclables. Shop online or in their shop in Granby, then sold online or in their local showroom.

Eppur si Muove exhibition

Last week the exhibition Eppur Si Muove opened in MUDAM museum, Luxemburg. Lots of good stuff in there. The exhibition is a combination of historical scientific and technical artefacts from Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris and contemporary artworks related to similar techniques and science. Until February 2016.

 

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The exhibition features many excellent works, including Tinguely’s Fata Morgana, Eliasson’s Trust Compass, Kowalski’s Arc en Ciel, Stelarc’s Third Hand and many more. My own Smartbot has been uncrated for living another segment of its limited existence on one square metre.

The MUDAM commissioned me and a team of artists, engineers and business students from Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France, to develop a robot guide for Eppur Si Muove. Guido the Robot Guide started its visits the day after the opening. There is a fair bit of work to be done before it can take over the human guides (phew) but Guido is popular with visitors, especially young ones. It talks about a selection of artworks and inventions from a robotic perspective, only in French for the moment. Two engineering students are working on Guido’s navigation and telepresence until end August.

 

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