The stroke — in its various manifestations — is the only communication tool that is encountered in paintings and drawings across generations. The production of a stroke involves a complex interplay between different perceptual, cognitive and physical processes. Its reproduction with computational and robotic technologies provides us with the opportunity to study and better understand these processes, raising questions such as: How does the use of robots to generate paintings and drawings influence the attribution of creativity, authorship, and agency to artificial systems? How does the human aesthetic appreciation of a material artwork produced by a robot compare to one presented as a digital image? What are the possible interactions between a human artist and/or a generative system (e.g. a neural network or an algorithmic procedure), a robot and the public in the creation of an artwork? What impact can computational and robotic tools have on contemporary painting practices, and how can these practices influence the development of such tools?
The three-year collaborative project Embodied Agents in Contemporary Visual Art (EACVA) approaches these questions through a multi-disciplinary collaboration between artists, philosophers, sociologists, psychologists as well as computer and robotics engineers. The collaboration will unfold throughout artistic residencies and workshops, during which we will develop a methodology informed by our respective fields of expertise while also producing artworks with state-of-the-art robotic painting and drawing systems. The code for the software developed during this period will be open source, thereby contributing to the growing community of artists and researchers working on artistic applications of robotics. Lastly, the resulting artworks, texts, and systems will be presented in the form of a public-facing exhibition.
The exhibition will include the presentation of live performance installations with several robots, exposing their internal representations and decision-making processes with the aim of demystifying machine and computer-driven creation. By combining state-of-the-art robotic and generative systems with historical contexts and didactic curatorial methodologies, we will offer the public an informed insider view into the creative potential of machines. The show will provide a unique opportunity to further investigate our research questions by gathering quantitative data through visitor surveys. Following the exhibition, we will dedicate a post-production period to the creation of a printed catalogue documenting the artworks and their production, and we will prepare publications relevant to the diverse disciplines represented within our collaborative team.
Examples of prior artworks, know-hows, and experiences; all technical development and art creation by our team.
We are a team of experts from a variety of disciplines: art, philosophy, robotics, computer graphics, perception/cognitive science and machine learning, all driven by the shared interest of studying the human art-making process and its embodiment in robots:
- Prof. Frederic Fol Leymarie – Creative Computing, Goldsmiths, University of London, dept. of Computing
- Prof. Oliver Deussen – Computer Graphics, University of Konstanz
- Dr. Caterina Moruzzi – Philosophy, University of Konstanz
- Dr. Rebecca Chamberlain – Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London
- Dr. Tomoko Tamari – Sociology – Goldsmiths, University of London
- Dr. Daniel Berio – Artist, Creative Computing, Goldsmiths, University of London, dept. of Computing
- Liat Grayver – Painter/ Media Artist; e-David Project, University of Konstanz; Epistemologien Ästhetischer Praktiken, ETH Zürich
- Prof. William Latham – Artist, Creative Computing – Goldsmiths, University of London
- Laura Herman – Creativity Research, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford
- Dr. Sylvain Calinon – Robotics and Machine Learning, Idiap research institute
- Nora Al-Badri, Media Artist, ETH Zürich, AI center
- Patrick Tresset – Artist, Roboticist
- Dr. Memo Akten – Media Artist, Computational Art & Design, U.C. San Diego, dept. of Visual Arts
- Prof. Chris Salter – Media Art, Concordia University, Montréal
- Prof. Tamar Flash – Motor Control – Weizmann institute, Tel Aviv