Robot Milking Cow

Artists,Bio-inspired,Reference,Robotics,Technique — Robb Godshaw @ 4:18 pm

You are likely aware of the tech, but this is a sight to see.

relevant works


Paul Pfeiffer

“Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” “The Long Count (Rumble in the Jungle),” “John 3:16,” etc.

(2001 – ongoing)

“There’s definitely a thrill. There are certain images…scenes that I feel captured by. There’s something special about the spectacle of seeing a human being at the center of the gaze of thousands of people. To me, it’s thrilling and also terrifying. There’s something very compelling about it to me. I feel empathy for the players on the court, and admiration when somebody’s able to shoot a three-point shot amidst all the hoopla.”

“In the video ‘John 3:16’…a reference to a passage so often quoted that its sort of the Biblical code for the New Testament that gives you the formula for salvation and eternal life. There’s an interesting kind of resonance that I see between this idea of a formula for salvation and eternal life and the promise of digital media that never break down and literally can live forever…that can always be copied endlessly. In a way, the medium itself represents a kind of promise that almost has spiritual overtones.”

“What I’m really interested in is where the medium fails, so that what you are seeing is the point at which the erasure can’t happen seamlessly. If the editing was done perfectly, then you wouldn’t see where the figure was at all, but in ‘The Long Count’ triptych you always do. There’s always this trace of where the figure was, and in a way you’re seeing the failure of my hand and the failure of the medium, and that’s kind of the ghost that’s left. And it’s that point of failure that I’m really interested in.”

– Paul Pfeiffer

Mika Rottenberg & Jon Kessler
“SEVEN”  (2011)


“a 37-minute piece involving seven live performers in an installation that includes video. The action centers on the transcontinental production of “chakra juice,” a magic elixir, one assumes, distilled from human sweat. It comes in the seven colors ascribed in Indian medicine to the body’s seven force centers, located at intervals from the bottom of the spine to the crown of the head. Performed continuously in a 37-minute cycle Wednesday through Saturday from 2 through 8 p.m., “Seven” combines the artists’ interests to entertaining, if not completely seamless effect.

At one end of the assembly line is a New York-based laboratory (the gallery) where sweat is harvested after some typically Rottenbergian exertions by several performers, and reserved in vessels made of a special clay; the clay arrives from the African savannah through the kind of pneumatic tubes once common to department stores. The African side of the operation, conducted by the residents of a tiny, isolated village, appears on television monitors.

With colored lights flashing, things zipping back and forth across the Atlantic, and liquids and solids changing state and hue — all under the watchful eye of a lab technician who conducts herself with the aplomb of a skilled illusionist — there is quite a bit of firsthand action to follow, most of it in line with Ms. Rottenberg’s aesthetic. But gradually the on-screen drama takes over; the savannah is not only mesmerizingly beautiful, it is also the juice’s destination. The closing scene, a kind of performance within the performance, seems to be mostly Mr. Kessler’s. It is unexpectedly dazzling, as, in a different way, is the realization that all this human effort we’ve just witnessed is for nature’s benefit.”

– Roberta Smith, NYtimes



Mika Rottenberg

“Tropical Breeze,” “Mary’s Cherries,” “Squeeze,” “Dough,” etc…

(apologies for this video, you don’t need to see her apartment, but it does show a good sampling / smattering of her work, which is hard to find in high quality online…)




Jeremy Hutchison

“Err” (2011)


“Emails were sent to factories all over the world. These requested that one of the production line workers produce an incorrect version of the product they make every day. 17 dysfunctional objects are shown alongside reams of confused correspondence, FedEx receipts, customs certificates and cardboard packaging.” – JH



Harun Farocki

“Deep Play” (2008)


Deep Play is a multi-channel video installation in which Farocki simultaneously projects full-length broadcasts of the 2006 FIFA World Cup final from 12 different vantage points. These include the official live TV broadcast, the artist’s own recording of the event, stadium surveillance, real-time action charts of player and coach statistics, 3D animation recreations, among others. It’s an all-encompassing and visually exhausting work – just imagine dissecting Zidane’s head-butt from 12 different angles. It’s pretty overwhelming.

And “overwhelming” is precisely what Farocki is exploring. Deep Play is a meticulous examination of a single event, a massive cultural spectacle watched by over 1.5 billion people across the globe. While rich in specificity, it’s impossible for the viewer to focus on any one thing at a time. Farocki doesn’t give his viewers a break. We are bombarded with data – facts, viewpoints, images – and even though it’s all extremely controlled and organized, we lack time and space to process everything for ourselves. Consequently, in spite of the overabundance of visual information, we are not seeing more or better. We are entranced – constantly distracted, not concentrated.

Deep Play, then, ends up being about much more than a football match. It references key concerns in Farocki’s oeuvre: the dynamics and politics of image production, mass circulation, and perhaps most importantly, the effects those have on individual and collective reception. Farocki demonstrates that how we perceive and witness images – our own subjectivity – is just as important, if not more, than the image itself.”     – Artlog



Artists,Assignment,Scientific,Submission — Dakotah @ 1:33 pm

Above is a device made by Alan Storey that plots the movement of four different ballerinas performing The Four Seasons. The dialog between the performance of the dancers pertain to the passage of time. At the end of the performance the image is revealed to the audience as if gesturing a bow. One of the interesting things about this piece to me is the simplicity of materials and mechanics or “low-tech”. There is a nostalgic quality to this simplicity that speaks to a desire for a simpler time with more primitive technology.

parietals 2005 from Anne Lilly on Vimeo.

Anne Lilly (above) makes these beautifully crafted interactive kinetic sculpture that are highly and precisely ordered. Although she uses very industrial materials she accomplishes very fluid and organic movements.

Ventilator, 1997 by Olafur Eliasson by C-Monster

In this piece by Olafur Eliasson I enjoy the simple whimsical behavior that moves quite arbitrarily around the massive space.

I thought Simon Penny is a good reference especially in the discussion/ critique on artificial intelligence.

Sustainability is definitely a hot topic of discussion. With robots to the rescue there is no doubt that this is an attainable dream. I love the notion of a delicate closed loop system that depends on the proper function of all its parts.


Artists,Reference,Uncategorized — Robb Godshaw @ 5:56 am

Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 8.37.47 PM
I am quite embarrassed to admit that I only discovered Stelarc today. His name is written in several of my notebooks, but I never got around to googleing him. Quite an impressive fellow. For those of you who don’t know him, he had a ear constructed on his forearm out of biocompatible scaffolding and stem cells. This particular project is very complex. I’m just going to go ahead and do the next post on him.

Movatar — Inverse motion capture system
I think this was a concept that got pretty far along and fell to pieces just before implementation. There seems to be no photos of the actual artifact.
Let’s pretend like it is real.
Movatar is a system on inverse motion control. This is a cute way of saying the computer model is controlling the human. This is very pertinent to my vague exploration of PID TEMS control of my limb(s) in both a conceptual and a technical sense. The idea that this is not a machination of the human body but a reversal of data collection justifies some sort of contemplation. The actuator/sensor relationship seems more complicated than 1/other when you involve a bag of flesh. Allowing a computer the privilege of attempting to parse highly elegant human movements is seen as a noble pursuit; a way for the artifice to more closely embody the ‘perfection’ of human nature. Surrendering control of a breathing soul to a crude and ignorant machine strikes some sort of cognitive dissonance with the viewer. They are not reversible concepts at all. That’s prolly what he was going for.

I have spent hours looking at all of his work.

The Third Hand
He made a third hand. It is robotic. It is controlled by his brain by means of impulses from his leg muscles.

Historical Examples of Electrified Humans in Performance

Artists,Reference — Robb Godshaw @ 3:48 am

I was lucky enough to encounter a super well written illustrated acedemic journal entitled Electric Body Manipulation as Performance Art: A Historical Perspective.

Here is my response. I recommend skimming the full text.


“…the human body as a display device for algorithms that run on digital computers”

ca. 1800 “Aldini, after having cut off the head of a dog, makes the current of a strong battery go through it: the mere contact triggers really terrible convulsions. The jaws open, the teeth chatter, the eyes roll in their sockets; and if reason did not stop the fired imagination, one would almost believe that the animal is suffering and alive again [42].”

Electronic Muscle Stimulation has a longer history in the arts than I had expected. The first nice example of Transcutaneous Electronic Muscle Stimulation(TEMS) was in the 1860’s. Lookit:
Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 8.29.20 PM

This man’s smile is induce by electric current. It is fake.
Duchenne de Boulogne ~1860’s
What appears at first to be crude early scientific experimentation, takes on an artistic note.

One series of photographs about facial expression was deliberately made with “an old toothless man, with a thin face, whose features, without being absolutely ugly, approached ordinary triviality and whose facial expression was in perfect agreement with his inoffensive character and his limited intelligence” (Fig. 9). Duchenne explained: “I preferred this coarse face to one of noble, beautiful features . . . because I wanted to prove that, despite defects of shape and lack of plas tic beauty, every human face can become spiritually beautiful through the accurate rendering of emotions”

De Boulogne’s motivations were more complex than those of a straight bio-engineering researcher. His findings were published in Mécanisme de la physionomie humaine, which Charles Darwin drew on heavily for his research on emotional expressivity.

Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 8.38.04 PM
Arthur Elsenaar
Mid-90’s facial control art

Project Paradise – 1998

Artists,Robotics,Theory — Robb Godshaw @ 1:28 am

Project Paradise is an very early exploration of issues surrounding telepresence and telexperience. Two participants enter booths in a gallery setting. The booths are equipped with a ringing telephone and a small monitor. When the participant answers the call, they are greeted with a kind voice which explains the interaction. Using the keypad on the phone, they are able to control a naked person in distant jungle setting. Both nude avatars are able to stroke and jab oneanother via the various telephone-controlled motors attached to their limbs. Watch the video, this description does no justice.

Wow. What fun. I am struck with the complexity they are able to glean from such simple analog electronics. Relays, motors, and CCTV combine to shake the particiapnts perception and role as a gallery goer. Is it socially acceptable for one to caress the naked flesh of a stranger? Who is held responsible for the action, the decision-maker or the limb-owner? Is the gesture of affection effectively carried through the medium of touch-tone and CCTV? If so, how far does it travel? All the way from participant to participant it seems unlikely that there would be lossless transmission of affection after all of the state changes. Instantly stripped from the gesture is the bodies of each participant. Eye contact, body language, warmth, physical beauty, even gender are removed at once. Intent and recognition of intent may be all that remain from the point of view of opposing participants. from the point of view of our avatars, the situation is the opposite. Present are their bodie and all that they entail. Eyes, genitals, apparent beauty, and history inorm their experience. These are individuals who have spent many hours caressing one another nude. Their lengthy exchange of contact is lacking a very important facet of intimacy. Intent. Neither party is responsible for their actions, being frequently reminded by the cold and loud apparatus that is driving the contact. The avatars supplement the motors by making small movements that carry on the intent of the limited mechanics. They smile, rub, and appear to be what is clearly a spritely fantastic time.

The Centre for Metahuman Exploration- Field Robotics Center – 1998

Carnegie Mellon University


The Discontented Robot

This little device made by David Bowen must be a version of Braitenberg’s vehicles that has attractive behavior to what it senses (either 2b or 4a). The nice thing about this little bot is that it synthesizes its own power from the source that it is attracted to. The set up is slightly different in that the object of desire is out of reach and so the bot ends up circling around the light source never satisfied.



The following work by Matthew Hebert (posted below) relates to a discussion Adam, Dakotah, Rob and I had regarding where art belongs…. I think we decided that, eventually, inevitably, it seems to always end up, as all life does, buried in a land pit somewhere. Personally, I don’t mind if stuff I make ends up in the garbage. But I don’t really want to get into a discussion about whether art is “wasteful” or not, or whether it should be “useful” or not.

Instead, let’s just check out this project that might excite Adam, since it combines robotics with design & “utilitarian” shit for your home… you know, furniture.


^    This table is kind of “whimsical” (in a when-robotics-hits-Crate-&-Barrel sort of way?). But the designer is obviously a theory dork (<- no negative connotation), since here we see one of Braitenberg’s vehicles!  Maybe 2a style, mentioned on p.6?  Though you might not be able to tell from this not very revealing video, these little robots, imprisoned between two sheets of glass, move in the sun, and stay still in the “shade.” Their motors are most likely attached to light sensors. This creates a nice effect when you put something down on the coffee table, since they will flock to it and hide under it. Would I put this in my home if someone gave it to me? Sure. (But as Bob Bingham would ask, “Is it art yet?”)

Here’s another piece based on simple Braiteneberg architectures: a bench that moves itself into the sun (using light sensors in the front, back, and on both sides, as well as a microcontroller). These benches have solar panels on their seats that charge their battery (except, I guess, when someone’s sitting on one…hmmm….)   Watch out, this video is rather lengthy.

[Do we always have to use that Strauss composition from 2001 when introducing a monolithic design?][yes]


Coming from the “art” perspective: I think these projects could be more interesting if they complicated the nature of braitenberg architectures, perhaps simultaneously complicating the notion of utilitarian furniture. What if these devices were structured not to be useful? If this furniture made use of slightly extended models of braitenbergian forms (see the Lambrinos / Scheier article)… the emergent behaviors might appear more complex. This could get really weird and interesting, if we’re talking about furniture that is reacting to human use. Incorporating “artificial” learning, or the type of seemingly socially intelligent behaviors discussed in the article we read about folk-psychology might turn a table or a chair into something we really have to think about interacting with…. Heidegger would go bananas.


And last, this Hebert guy takes a stab at “art” !!

After all, if there’s one way to be SURE you’re making art …. it’s by putting it in a museum!

This apparently was a commission from the San Diego Museum of Art in 2011 for a weekly series themed around the topic of “what a city needs.”  Here, Hebert says he is approaching this theme “from an interest in power infrastructure and it’s critical importance to the city,” in relation to the often geographical remoteness of most of those forms of power. (Which apparently is especially true in San Diego). Hebert took public domain models from the Google SketchUp library, 3D printed them in ABS plastic, wired electronics to them, and placed them in the museum in what we MIGHT call “non-traditional” locations. Sounds like a well-followed recipe right out o’ the ol’ “art” cookbook to me!







Cyborg Foundation

Artists,Reference,Robotics — adambd @ 5:30 am

“I started hearing colours in my dreams”

Neil Harrison(b. 1982 in Belfast, Northern Ireland)

CYBORG FOUNDATION | Rafel Duran Torrent from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

Robotic Musicianship

Artists,Reference,Robotics — Ali Momeni @ 2:53 pm

Eric Singer (b. 19.. in ..)

  • Lemur: League of extraordinary musical urban robots

Godfried-Willem Raes (b. 1952 in Gent, Belgium)

Ajay Kapur (b. 19.. in ..)

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