What should a robot smell like? I have aug­mented three exist­ing indus­trial robots with ‘sweat glands’. Each uses a spe­cific prop­erty of human sub-conscious behav­iour in response to a chem­i­cal stim­u­lus. The con­trast between the phys­i­cal anti-anthropomorphic nature of the machines and the olfac­tory anthro­po­mor­phism high­lights the absurd nature of the trick­ery at play in all anthropomorphism.


Robots have no need for annu­ally recur­ring birth­days, but would cel­e­brat­ing their anniver­saries of cre­ation enable us to empathise with them to a greater degree? This is a short video por­trait explor­ing how a robot might cel­e­brate such a ‘birthday’.

How might the sen­sory expe­ri­ence of inter­act­ing with a humanoid robot be made more authen­tic? This short film explores the real­ity of a humanoid robot that pro­duces a fear scented ‘sweat’ on its palms in antic­i­pa­tion of meet­ing a human for the first time. This ‘sweat’ is for­mu­lated to defuse any fear felt by the human on first con­tact and enhance the encounter.

 

This is designed as an ini­tial demon­stra­tion robotic armpit. It releases a mix­ture of indus­trial recipe Japan­ese sweat.

Type is organic, it’s alive…
Bruno Maag

Much of the recent work in the field of syn­thetic biol­ogy involves the expres­sion of pig­ments by bac­te­ria in response to stim­uli. Typ­i­cal appli­ca­tions of this often include iden­ti­fy­ing con­t­a­m­i­nants in drink­ing water or the early symp­toms of a disease.

I wanted to explore the poten­tial of this devel­op­ing tech­nol­ogy in a more per­sonal and cul­tural con­text. I wanted to ask how peo­ple would go about adopt­ing it and how they would feel about using it.

I was also inspired by a recent talk from typog­ra­pher Bruno Maag. He spoke about type as being organic, he described it as being alive. While he was speak­ing metaphor­i­cally it sparked a thought in my mind: what if syn­thetic biol­ogy meant that type really was alive? What if out let­ters were liv­ing organisms?

I devel­oped a sce­nario around a pri­vate love let­ter, writ­ten in a unique ink that is shared by two lovers. The cou­ple also share a unique bac­te­r­ial infec­tion in their saliva. This bac­te­ria expresses pig­ment when in comes into con­tact with the ink. A unique ink and bac­te­r­ial com­bi­na­tion would be cre­ated by cou­ples to express their com­mit­ment to each other.

I cre­ated a video piece to explore the abstracted real­ity of this sce­nario. In shows a woman decod­ing a love let­ter using her saliva, lick­ing the let­ters one by one. The use of the hand writ­ten love let­ter is per­ti­nent as we already have a phys­i­cal con­nec­tion with them, we lick the envelops and stamps, send­ing a piece of our­selves along with the letter.

I used an extract from a let­ter send from Eng­lish poet John Keats to his lover Fanny Brawne in 1819. The text is pecu­liarly appro­pri­ate to the mes­sage I wished to convey.

Elec­tron­ics and Performance

Strut your stuff in front of the world’s first dance con­trolled ice cream sun­dae machine. Your dance moves are trans­lated to cre­ate a unique tasty treat. Is your foot­work knickerbocker-glorious? Find out with Danc­ing Cream.

Filmed Senario
Good­bye World, in this my 134th year I am leav­ing you because I am bored. There are only so many places to visit, so many peo­ple to see, so many things to do. And I think I have done enough. Love and life can only last so long. And I feel I have lived and loved long enough. My ego is not so great that I con­sider it my right to live any longer. The world does not need me and I do not need it. It is now my respon­si­bil­ity and my right, my final right to die peacefully.

What would the world be like if the human lifes­pan was many cen­turies long? Would it be a won­der­ful utopia or would some peo­ple become bored with life and choose an early exit. I designed a super­hero to assist such peo­ple in car­ry­ing out their final wish. His name is The Finale and he uses his branded, helium filled bal­loons to euthanise his will­ing victims.

Cred­its: Con­cept and Direc­tion by Kevin Gren­nan, Pho­tog­ra­phy by Lud­wig Zeller, Sound by Jonas Loh & Stef­fen Fielder, Pro­duc­tion Assis­tant Stu­art Morris


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