Sentient Machines: Artist-in-residence series exploring human and machine interaction

Frankenstein – the iconic story about Victor Frankenstein who created a living being out of non-living materials – is already 200 years old. Writer Mary Shelley created an empathetic creation without a name, evoking fear by those around him. The lack of empathy from his human companions, turns him into the monster others expected him to be. Frankenstein reveals the tension between human and machine, creation and creator.

Our intimate relationship with technology faces us with new and unforeseen challenges. Science fiction stories about humans and machines living together surpassed our wildest dreams and deepest fears. Today such stories seem to be more prophetic than fantastic. Nowadays, researchers and artists are experimenting with self-learning systems and Artificial Intelligence. Humanoid robots are available for consumers and we consider robotics as a solution for the increasing workload in the health-care sector.

What future scenarios can we imagine with these hybrid technological developments in mind? Do these machines feel? Do they have dreams, hopes and fears? Together with Robot Love Baltan explores the potential of hardware and software developments, wearable-technologies and robotics. We invite four artists for a residency trajectory in Eindhoven to further develop their projects. SENTIENT MACHINES is set up as an experimental playground for artistic research.

Amygdala MK3 by Marco Donnarumma, photography by Margherita Pevere

As a first guest in this residence series, artist Marco Donnarumma will visit Baltan Laboratories to work on his “Configurations” project. This project explores the link between AI robotics, ritual performance and AR. Donnarumma will start his residency by leading an extensive workshop together with designer Ana Rajcevic. Participants will work on prototypes of prostheses driven by neural networks – artificial intelligence algorithms capable of generating movement behaviors and respond to their physical environment. Donnarumma will further develop these prototypes during his residency and will put them on display in the exhibition The Restlessness of Hybridity at Baltan Laboratories, alongside Amygdala MK3.

About Marco Donnarumma’s “Configurations” project

“Configurations” is an ongoing, large-scale 2-year project led by Marco Donnarumma unleashing the links between AI robotics, ritual performance and art. This art & science research project combines artworks, performances and workshops with the goal to open up critical questions about the relation of human bodies and “intelligent” machines. The project is part of the Graduiertenschule, Berlin University of the Arts, and its various outcomes are supported by Einstein Stiftung (DE), Goethe-Institut (DE), CTM Festival (DE), Chronus Art Center (CN), alongside Baltan Laboratories (NL). The project is made possible in close collaboration with the Neurorobotics Research Laboratory (DE) and Ana Rajcevic Studio (DE/UK).


SENTIENT MACHINES is kindly supported by Creative Industries Fund NL.

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