[robotics-worldwide] cfp: Playful Robotic Art
Henrik Hautop Lund
hhl at mmmi.sdu.dk
Sun Aug 5 11:32:47 PDT 2007
Call for Participation:
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON PLAYFUL ROBOTIC ART
23 August 2007, Odense, Denmark
at the ROBOTS AT PLAY FESTIVAL: www.robotsatplay.dk
Conference venue: First Grand Hotel, Odense
Conference chair: Professor Henrik Hautop Lund
Organiser: Center for Playware, University of Southern Denmark
Registration: Vibeke Nielsen, vibeken at mmmi.sdu.dk, tel: +45 6550 3575
PLAYFUL ROBOTIC ART
The International Conference on Playful Robotic Art focuses on the
interaction between play, robotics and art, and how these disciplines
may inspire each other to develop novel opportunities in play, robotics
and art. Indeed, it is the vision of this international conference to
help fostering new insight and opportunities for creations in the
intersection between the three disciplines play, robotics, and art,
where some of the most avant-garde inventions for human-machine
interaction can be found.
Do these disciplines at all intersect, one may ask, and will a possible
intersection be fruitful? This conference takes the view that play,
robotics, and art do have a lot in common. Play and art are among the
most creative, flexible, and complicated human phenomena, that by many
are regarded as the quite opposite of technology. In spite of that, new
technology is often spread into society through playful products, and
many artists are deeply interested in the changes that technology can
bring about in our way of understanding ourselves as human beings.
Robotics seems to have the potential of changing our interaction, or
perhaps one should say, our collaboration with machines. Robotics is a
flexible, “intelligent” technology that can see, hear, feel, and act.
While robotics is much more than attempts to build human-like machines,
it is at the same time a technology, which has the ability to understand
and interact with human behaviour. Robotics is not only about creating
technology that serves us, it is also about creating new kinds of art
and new kinds of environments to live in and play with.
The three fields of study - Play, Robot, Art
Play can be described as a free, voluntary activity indulged for its own
sake, and although creative and sometimes educational, play is
unproductive and non-utilitarian. Play has boundaries of space and time,
and takes place temporarily outside 'regular life' with its own course
and meaning. Play is regulated by arbitrary and contingent rules and
conventions, which are integral to the uncertainty of play.
Robot is defined to be a programmable machine that by its interaction
with the surrounding environment autonomously can perform a variety of
tasks, and its behaviour is different from that of a computer programme
by its interaction with the environment through sensors and actuators.
We may define a robot to be intelligent in the sense of having the
ability to generate a variety of behaviours while complying with the
givens of the system (environment).
Art can be described as the human effort to imitate, supplement, alter,
or counteract the work of nature. It can be the conscious production or
arrangement of sounds, colours, forms, materials, movements, or other
elements in a manner that affects our senses – often the sense of beauty
– and which may have an aesthetic or conceptual value. We may say that
art is a (product of) human activity, made with the intention of
stimulating the human senses as well as the human mind; thus art is an
action, an object, or a collection of actions and objects created with
the intention of transmitting emotions and/or ideas. Beyond this
description, there is no general agreed-upon definition of art, since
defining the boundaries of "art" is subjective and limitative, but the
impetus for art is often called creativity.
Therefore, in order to create an intelligent robot, we need to
understand how to create an autonomous system with the free and
voluntary activity and all the uncertainties that autonomy may entail.
However, we must also understand the rules and conventions of the
environment in which the system (the intelligent robot) is placed.
Hence, we find that modern AI robotics and play seem to share many of
the same challenges in terms of understanding free and voluntary
activity, uncertainty, autonomy, and regulation by rules and conventions
of the environment. The understanding of one field may shed light on the
other and vice versa.
Also, art and play share a number of characteristics, even though play
has traditionally been considered non-productive, whereas art often is
characterised by productive actions. However, play may lead to
productive actions, and in our modern society many play actions are
products in their own right, and though artistic performance is a
planned action, it shares expression with different forms of play
(including role playing, play performance, etc.). Furthermore, art and
play share the common goal of popularity, since in both cases the final
“success” is subject to people's recognition of value.
Art and Robotics as well share many goals. From a hardware point of
view, robotics is very close to what is called “sculptural” while its AI
component may be very close to what is called “conceptual art”, an
exploration of the aesthetical components of behaviour. Therefore, the
conference wishes to depict a first draft of the intersection of the
three fields, underlining overlapping interests and points of
discontinuity, trying to come to a newer definition of artefacts and the
way to conceive and interact with them.
The conference will present top researchers from technology and arts
institutions such as MIT Media Lab, Tokyo Institute for Technology, The
Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, Royal Academy of Fine Arts
Copenhagen, Academy of Fine Arts Bari, and top artists from Spain,
Portugal, Germany, etc.
ROBOTS AT PLAY FESTIVAL:
The overall aim of the Robots at Play Festival is to spread knowledge
about robotics by presenting interactive robotic systems in the daily
life of the citizens. Therefore, the festival takes place on an open
city square, in art museums, library, bars, cinema, etc. in the city
centre of Odense that has nominated “play and robotics” as its future
focus for industrial and city development. Apart from the prize, the
festival hosts numerous events like robot construction, robot bazaar,
robot film presentations, play, learning, robot art exhibition, robot
art performances, RoboMusic development, a stage show, an international
Playful Robotic Art conference and a debate on robotics ethics. All
events take place in the centre of the city amongst the citizens in
their daily environment. Please have a look at the video from last
year's festival (http://www.robotsatplay.dk/video_engvn.html) and the
descriptions of activities and photos of some of the robots from the
forthcoming 2007 festival on the web-site.
Robots at Play Festival, Odense, Denmark, 23-25 August 2007:
Henrik Hautop Lund, professor
Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute
University of Southern Denmark
Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark
Tel: +45 6550 3574 Fax: +45 6615 7697
hhl at mmmi.sdu.dk
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