zoe performance 8.10. 2010 ROBOTERTRÄUME / ROBOTDREAMS opening

“ZOE” is an attempt to represent human and interpersonal relationships through machinery, describing social phenomena through principles of movement, although the causes of these principles are (still) unknown. For this artproject I use active and reactive objects whose formalized behavior trigger emotion and life.

In my point of view, machines are neither intelligent nor do they have feelings. Emotions entirely exist on the human side. In other words machines and therefor robots don´t bear emotions. But they can produce feelings because of their behaviours and during their utilisation. They are some kind of emotional prosthesis.

Emotions are definitely triggered by a machine/robot, in the moment when recipients can’t explain the machine’s behaviour (so my self-experiment): That means, that machines can behave in a way humans understand. As we know there exist certain points of not understanding a machine – we can’t reconstruct what the machine is doing right now. In this point of no understanding emotions are created. For instance, if the robot runs away without having a reason for it, if the machine flees like a shy creature into a corner, then emotions are triggered. My insights: Emotions are attempts to interpret behavior or even only movements of a moving object. If a robot strings many seemingly reasonable movement patterns together and it is not easily possible to anticipate the objects future behaviour, we interpret its behavior as intelligent, focused and alive. If this “targeted” and “smart” appearing “livelike” behavior can not be rationally explained, there appear to be emotions, by which I try to come closer to human behavior itself.

Emotionality, as outlined here, takes place on a surreal perception and reception level. So I try to stimulate archetypical emotions with my robotic creatures. Similarly, this would mean in connection with the robots of “ZOE” as follows: The robots do not seem lifelike because of their appearance, but gain the appearance of vitality by their movements. They act and react with the environment. They create emotions in the viewer, once it is fear, other times it is joy, anger, resignation, or just a non-feeling of understanding. This aroused emotions correlate with the alleged behavior of the machine. The feeling or the not-feeling emerges at the moment in which I attempt to interpret the movement or the behavior of the robot. Which emotions exactly are triggered, or if there are no emotions, the trigger is always based in the moment of self-reflection.

A swarm is created by eleven individual robotic objects, which define their “corporeality” by their functionality. Each of these individual objects is independent, but together with all the other objects of “ZOE” they build a (intelligent) connection. The swarm without its own physicality is defined by the social group. The ability of the human to anthropomorph, creates in the recipient the appearance of a social group which belongs together.

9.10. – 2.1. 2011, Kunsthaus Graz: “Roboterträume”, Graz, Österreich,
9.6.- 12.9. 2010, Museum Tinguely: “Roboterträume”, Basel, Schweiz,
Produktion im Rahmen eines Artist in Residence Aufenthaltes im Kunsthaus Graz,

Roboterperformance, 15 Roboterobjekte

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