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Biennial of Art and Technology: Art.Ficial Emotion

A biennial explores robot behavior with site-specific installations

by Phuong-Cac Nguyen in Culture on 16 August 2010

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Asking 11 artists and scientists from around the world to consider the "emerging behaviors" of devices, the fifth annual Biennial of Art and Technology: Art.ficial Emotion is a fascinating and provocative meditation on the future of technology.

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Leonel Moura's Robotarium SP, a site-specific robot zoo based on an existing Robotarium in Portugal, is complete with robot animals that not only have their own forms, but act in their own peculiar ways, zooming and relaxing at will.

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SymbioticA, a trans-continental collective between Australia and the U.S., developed Silent Barrage—a set of robots that make their marks on columns while rat neurons, stored in a glass container on a different continent, fire away. The creatures also take notice of the presence of visitors at the show and react by scribbling on the columns.

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A national entry comes from Grupo Poéticas Digitais. Its Mulberry Trees Project consists of five mulberry trees installed in front of the cultural center on the sidewalk. The wired trees are programmed to take cues from the sounds around them, then vibrating and making sounds when confronted with danger.

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Two exhibits take on the human form directly. Ballet Digitallique by Lali Krotoszynski turns visitor's silhouettes into walking beings of their own. Stelarc's Prosthetic Head is a digital version of the artist's head, verbally interacting with those who speak to it.

The exhibit runs through 1 September 2010.

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