Call for Papers

Can we learn from robots about love?

A collection of academic, activist and artistic essays will be published in a full-color book in conjunction with the ROBOT LOVE art manifestation exhibited on different platforms in Eindhoven during 2018/2019.


Technology has the potential to transgress normative borders. Notions like intelligence, consciousness and love are normative concepts. We think we know what these qualities mean but actually we don’t. The liberalist emphasis on rationalism and reductionism has led to a limited view of humans as self-centered, fully rational and disembodied actors surviving the economic system. There is a tendency to see ourselves as quantitative machines. Meanwhile, in order to interact with us humans, robots need to incorporate neglected qualities. Such as emotion, intuition and most of all love. Now that “real machines” are entering the domestic sphere, artificial intelligence may act as a mirror allowing us to delve deeper into ourselves and the current state of society. ROBOT LOVE, combining neuroscience, robotics and ethics, is like “a force from the future” we cannot yet grasp, but urges us to ask: how can we learn from robots about love?

Care robots, industrial robots, ambient intelligence, self-driving cars. ROBOT LOVE is not merely about human-robot relationships, but on how technological advancement can inspire us to reconceptualize ourselves as human beings. The art manifestation critically investigates this by way of an affirmative approach to artificial intelligence, allowing for frictions to occur. Although created in our image or as a proxy of the human, we cannot yet grasp how robots perceive the world, it is alien to our own perception. Thus recognition of a radically other being, whose actions cannot be predicted, is needed. Like a difference not in degree but in kind that moves away from existing logic. A difference that liberates itself from the certain/uncertain status from which our perceptions of security derive. It opens up the possibility for considering the un-accountable, the un-decidable, the un-definable. Just like love.

We invite academic, activist, sci-fi and artistic contributions that follow a bottom-up argumentation, informed by situated practices and analyze concrete objects of study. The areas (of neurosciences, robotics, ethics, etc.) in which a more attentive perspective can make a difference are numerous. To pick just a few examples: Are innovative technologies encapsulating us further in becoming our own pets or can they affect us towards a new relationality between humans and non-human surroundings? Technology is not neutral: how to cope with datafication and the narrow-minded algorithmic gaze?  Which developments in artificial intelligence inspire us to radically reconsider consciousness as residing in -between- minds or a community of minds? To what extent can artificial intelligence (or thalience) stir us to take a more inward turn? In what ways can we co-exist as interdependent, context-sensitive bodies in symbiosis with technologies, co-creating an inclusive society based on love and generosity?


Practicalities: We would like to invite you to submit a proposal of 350 words. If accepted, we will contact you to make agreements for submitting a paper of around 2000 words. Please note: we aim for a diverse and educated audience of not only academics but also artists, activists, coders, hackers, designers, science fiction writers and all those with an interest and critical embracing of AI.


– The deadline to submit your abstract of 350 words is April 1, 2017

– The deadline to submit your paper of 2000 words is June 1, 2017

– Final selection by the editorial board is July 1, 2017

– Deadline finished papers November 1, 2017

– Final deadline for edited and corrected submissions April 1, 2018

– Ready for print: July 2018

For questions and submissions please email Wisse Ruyter:


Concept: Ine Gevers/Niet Normaal Foundation.

Editorial Board: Ine Gevers, Iris van der Tuin, Klaas Kuitenbrouwer, Luis Lobo-Guerrero, Martijntje Smits. Editorial assistance: Wisse Ruyter, Dennis Kerckhoffs.

The project will be developed in close collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum, Dutch Design Foundation, STEC, Baltan Laboratories, and the Technological Universities of Delft, Eindhoven, Twente.