Recently in residence at Campbelltown Arts Centre with Paul Gazzola in ‘Teaching a New Dog Old Tricks’, Paul Granjon’s work challenges pervasive human robot interaction memes in an amusing fashion. The RobotCultures Symposium at University of Sydney showcased some works such as ‘The Sexed Robots’.
Paul Granjon’s homemade constructions and robots reflect his interest in what he calls the ‘co-evolution of humans and machines’. Granjon (b. France, lives and and works in the UK) regularly presents installations, videos and performances internationally and in 2005 he represented Wales in the Venice Biennale.
Hand Made Machines
In December 2007 Paul Granjon completed a 3-year NESTA Fellowship with the publication of a book / DVD that presents a comprehensive selection of work developed since 1996.
The book includes many preparatory drawings and colour photographs providing a comprehensive insight in the development of machines such as The Cybernetic Parrot Sausage, Furman the kicking robot, The Robotic Tail and Ears and The Sexed Robots among others.
The publication is framed by two short essays by Anthony Howell and Paul Granjon. The accompanying DVD contains one hour of video including several short films, documentation footage of installations and performances as well as rare archive material.
44 pages, hard cover, 13 x 19cm, colour, English
Includes a DVD video, all regions, PAL.
ISBN number 978-0-9541810-5-5
published by Z Productions and G39, December 2007
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Would a robot by any other name seem the same? Naming a robot categorizes it, creates expectations and triggers social responses. An analysis of robot naming practices in research robot competitions shows a widespread convention of naming with more than 2/3rds of all robots reflecting biomorphic or lifelike non-mechanistic attributes. This will evoke ‘mindless’ or ethopoeic social responses. Preliminary findings are that robot naming in different competitions either replicates human gender stereotypes or is evidence of prosthesis (or projection), the extension of self into the robot. Even robot names that avoid anthropomorphism, gender or animism are subject to version control strategies, highlighting the difficulties that we face with regard to robot identity.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
The first Robot Cultures symposium at Sydney University is absolutely fabulous, only I had to leave the evening gathering and run and hide. After a whole day discussing robotics and culture and all the finer points of autonomy, identity, agency, sense, cognition, culture and intelligence... etc.
Well, they're showing Monster Trucks on the TV at the pub. Which seems like a perfectly normal thing to be watching on my 3rd straight day of robotics conferences and competitions. Those massive machines look just like the rinky dink remote control toys half the time. They also leap and bound with an animal grace, as if possessed of their own autonomy and anima. The audience responds immediately to the broken wheels. The scantily clad cheergirls hold up score cards. The crowd cheer. We have another beer.
Maybe no-one else noticed the monster trucks on tv cause the robot culture crowd discussion was pretty interesting but, frankly, it did my head in. What is a robot culture compared to a monster truck culture? Is it different?
Earth to Andra. The latest thoughts on robotics are that the senses should lead cognition.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Robot Cultures is an interdisciplinary research initiative founded by the Digital Cultures Program and the Centre for Social Robotics at the University of Sydney.
The aim of this research initiative is to bring together academics from the sciences, arts and humanities, including scientists, engineers, theorists and artists to investigate the social, technological, aesthetic, institutional, economic and ethical dimensions of the social interaction of humans with robots.
The Cultures of Robotics Symposium is the first in a series of events organised to foster an interdisciplinary research community exploring the histories, philosophies and practices of robotics within contemporary culture. For this first event our invited keynote speaker is Professor Simon Penny (UC Irvine), renowned artist, theorist and professor in the field of robotic and interactive art.
Robot Cultures website is live. Hashtag for the Symposium is #robocult
I’m presenting a paper on my initial research on robot names, from the ‘Naming of Robots’ project, at ISRE2010 on Wednesday at the Gold Coast, Aust. The program looks interesting and I’m really looking forward to seeing the IRO (International Robot Olympiad) competition first hand.
the Naming of Robots draft
Paper presenting the initial research findings of my ‘Naming of Robots’ project, which explores the ways in which robot competitions express liminal identity and gender by examining empirical data from competition records with a cultural studies of science approach.
We’re all exhausted, but our 3 teams of primary students did really well at the National First Lego League competition on the weekend. The ‘green for girls’ team was in the lead for a while but we were soon overtaken by some truly excellent robot teams. (Nonetheless, we’re in the top percentiles.) The Green team were early favorites with their crowd pleasing catapult ‘flying doctor service’, and they had potentially our best scoring routines but Mooncakes once again managed the highest score on the day. Even our junior team, Red Rovers, persevered through adversity and won the judge’s encouragement award.