Public Lecture

Donnerstag, 17. März 2011
14:00 - 15:30 Uhr
Ort: Expositur PSK, Georg-Coch-Platz 2/1. OG, 1010 Wien


Embodiment, Space and Physicality in Interactive and Robotic Arts

This presentation will address physicality as opposed to virtuality, analog as opposed to digital computation in the realm of Digital/Electronic Media.

Physical spaces and objects have a material existence whilst audiences share this very same world. As Merlau-Ponty states, our body is not primarily in space: it is of it. This leads not only to tangible interfaces but also creates a contributing cultural context as an integral part of the interfaces.

The far-reaching and often surprising implications of embodiment will be explored. The embodiment will be addressed from the perspective of the audience in Interactive Arts and from the perspective of the robotic agents in Robotic Arts.

In 1956, the founding fathers of artificial intelligence convened under the assumption that "... every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it." (Dartmouth Artificial Intelligence Project Proposal)

This idea was dominant until the mid-1980s. More recently there has been increasing interest in "embodiment"- the notion that intelligence (behavior) is not only a matter of computation, but requires a body, a complete organism that interacts with the real world. As a consequence, many researchers shifted their attention from computers to robots, from screen interfaces to tangible media, from virtual reality to mixed reality.

The discussion will approach the results of “outsourcing” behavioral models into physical constructions where the apparent actions emerge from the interaction of the agent/audience within the physical world with minimal computational efforts and representational models.

Being situated, Interactive and Robotic Arts can empower intangible contributions from the cultural context, the suspension of disbelief and the attribution of intention towards any outside physical objects acting upon the world.

Louis-Philippe Demers makes large-scale installations and performances. His main areas of work are entertainment robotics and interaction design. Over the past two decades, he participated in more than seventy artistic and stage productions and has built more than 300 machines. His projects can be found in theatre, opera, subway stations, art museums, science museums, music events and trade shows.

Demers’ works have been featured at major venues such as Lille 2004, Expo 1992 and 2000, Sonambiente, ISEA, Siggraph and Sonar. He received four mentions at Ars Electronica, the Distinction of Prix Ars 96, the first prize of Vida 2.0, a mention for the Tiller Girls at Vida 12.0, the Interactive prize for Lightforms 98 and six prizes for Devolution including two Helpmann Awards, the Australian equivalent of the Broadway’s Tony.

Demers was Professor of Digital Media and Exhibit Design/Scenography at the Hochschule fuer Gestaltung, the academic institution affiliated to the world renowned Zentrum fuer Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM, Germany). Since he joined the Interaction and Entertainment Research Centre and the newly founded School of Art, Design and Media at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU, Singapore).

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