Anthropomorphic Objects

Symposium:


Presentation Title:

  • Anthropomorphic Objects

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • This project integrates knowledge and methodologies from sculpture, puppetry, and robotics to explore the uncanny and create aesthetic experiences of ‘presence’. The outcome of this practice-­‐research are a series of humanoid creatures, with human dimensions, and some autonomous motion, that convey the illusion of a living presence, as well as personality and character. In addition to being performative, my works are interactive. I found that I was able to generate playful situations for those who encountered my creations. My sculptures were created with a Camp sensibility. Camp’s naïve outlandishness can cause discomfort, as does the sense of the uncanny, and here in this work, I have amalgamated the two by examining the uncanny with a Camp sensibility. The result was a series of quirky objects that evoke some sense of presence or character.
    These works disrupt how we relate to inanimate objects; by creating a momentary illusion that they are alive, they evoke an uncanny sensation. My performative works disrupt the social environment by inserting the inanimate object into the social realm, disguised as human; my gallery works disrupt our sense of the living with their motion and interactivity. This disruption is a point on which to begin an exploration of how inanimate objects, embodied as robots, relate to us socially. Technological advances have made it possible for robots to fulfill ever-­‐increasingly human functions, such as providing companionship to autistic children (KASPAR), and to the elderly (PARO), as well as help for everyday household tasks (JIBO). The role of art in light of these technological advances is to reflect on the various aspects of social companion robots. Such reflection can provide cultural criticism of social relationships, it can sharpen our emotional perception of how we relate and react to humanoid forms and gestures, and it can lead to insight into how to optimize their design.

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