Magnetic encounters and embodied conversations

Goodall, Jane (2011) Magnetic encounters and embodied conversations. In: 2011 ICRA Workshop on Robots and Art: Frontiers in Human-Centred Robotics as Seen by the Arts (ICRA 2011), 9-13 May 2011, Shanghai, China.


The Articulated Head is a collaboration between the performance artist Stelarc and researchers from the Marcs Auditory Laboratories at the University of Western Sydney, to explore the potential for robot-human communication. A three-dimensional image programmed with a complex range of human facial expressions and wide repertoire of everyday speech is mounted on a robotic structure to create a human/machine hybrid. As a gallery installation, the Articulated Head works to establish real-time dialogue between a virtual presence and physically present human being (the gallery visitor), but what does ‘presence’ mean in this situation? At one level, it means simply that the two conversational participants are co-present in time and space. Their engagement, though, involves highly nuanced processes of mutual sensory detection that may be far more subtly communicative than the verbal content of the dialogue. One might say quite literally that they are attracted to each other.
This presentation explores the historical association between presence, attraction and magnetism in electro-mechanical research, going back to the speculations of Renaissance Magus John Dee (1527-1608) whose writings on magnetic rays may still have something to teach us about sensory interaction between different kinds of intelligent bodies. Stelarc professes a dislike for historical
research into antecedents, and that is not the nature of this enquiry. Rather, I am interested in how certain ideas and images form cultural feedback loops across time, forming remote conversations of another kind.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: This workshop is part of the 2011 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). Permanent restricted access to published abstract in accordacne with the copyright policy of the publisher. Only abstract published.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Arts - No Department
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2012 05:40
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2017 01:01
Uncontrolled Keywords: robots; robotics; installation; virtual reality; non-verbal communication; magnetism
Fields of Research : 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts > 190504 Performance and Installation Art
08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0801 Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing > 080101 Adaptive Agents and Intelligent Robotics
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200102 Communication Technology and Digital Media Studies
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9502 Communication > 950205 Visual Communication

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