Robots and Zoos

Watched a video on RealTime tv of robotics pieces at ISEA2013. I see a similar goal/outcome that I am trying to do with a work by Petra Gemeinboeck and Rob Saunders: ‘Accomplice’ at Artspace, Sydney, 2 May – 16 June, 2013. Petra talks about zoos, and how people think the animals are performing for them but the animals are performing in response to the humans trying to get the animals to perform. Once again, I’m fascinated by this idea of there being an assumption from the visitor’s side and it gets turned on them. Rob talks about ‘Accomplice’ and how people see the robots punching holes in the walls but then when they spend time with it, they realise the robots are actually playing with the walls.

And that switch of viewpoint is an important moment for a lot of people who come and see the work. They switch their viewpoint from how their environment is being destroyed to how the robots environment is being explored and being creatively or playfully being experimented with. […] It’s again going from a sort of fearful or disturbing encounter to one [that is a curious one]

It would be good to give the visitors the impression that the robots are learning just like they are. I don’t mean in terms of content, I mean technologically. AI. That your interaction has changed things in some way. For instance, every time a person does something that is good for the robot, a new light or object is added to the space; others for bad ones as well. Something that shows people not only their mark, but also what is happening to the robots/to their space because of people.

What if one of the robots is incredibly wise? What if this is the robot people keep coming back to, like ELIZA?…

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