Lilla LoCurto & Bill Outcault

The willful marionette
the willful marionette (2014) was created by artists Lilla LoCurto and Bill Outcault during a residency with the University of North Carolina Charlotte, working with the College of Computing and Informatics as well as the College of Art and Architecture. The marionette is 3d printed from the scanned image of a human figure and responds engagingly in real time to spontaneous human gestures by reading a viewer’s movements and expressions. Its strings are manipulated by motors and software and there are two depth sensors that read and analyze the behaviors and gestures of participants. The puppet’s subsequent actions are designed to elicit further responses, creating an exchange focusing on the frailty and insecurities of the human participant and raising issues of contemporary relevance. The intention of the project was not to create so much a perfectly functioning robot but rather to imbue an obviously mechanically actuated marionette with the ability to solicit a physical and emotional dialog with a viewer.

Roger Hiorns

A retrospective view of the pathway

His work revolves around the contemporary problem of understanding the meaning and significance of the world. It uses objects and behaviors that are opposed to the more conditioned and appropriate approaches of its predecessors and contemporaries. Hiorns has worked with Naked Youths, antidepressants, jet engines, buried airliners, steroids, sexual activity, and crystallization. In order to identify dominant objects and behaviors in the Western world, she asserts the need for an awareness in harmony with the world’s process, a necessary awareness for progress in improving this disappointing time for the development of human potential.

Disney Research

Realistic and Interactive Robot Gaze
System for lifelike gaze in human-robot interactions using a humanoid Audio-Animatronics® bust. Previous work examining mutual gaze between robots and humans has focused on technical implementation. We present a general architecture that seeks not only to create gaze interactions from a technological standpoint, but also through the lens of character animation where the fidelity and believability of motion is paramount; that is, we seek to create an interaction which demonstrates the illusion of life. A complete system is described that perceives persons in the environment, identifies persons-of-interest based on salient actions, selects an appropriate gaze behavior, and executes high, fidelity motions to respond to the stimuli. We use mechanisms that mimic motor and attention behaviors analogous to those observed in biological systems including attention habituation, saccades, and differences in motion bandwidth for actuators.

Ani Liu

Untitled: (A Search for Ghosts in the Meat Machine)
What does it mean to be human? At first glance a simple question, the idea of being human is an unstable construct, continuously recrafted. Recent technological innovations allow us to redesign ourselves profoundly— from networked prosthetics and artificial intelligence, to the genetic code of life itself. Can our behaviors be reduced to algorithms? Can our bodies be upgraded with nonorganic integrations? Can sentience itself by manufactured in a lab? This set of nine sculptures examines personhood from anatomical, psychological, genetic, biochemical, behavioral, algorithmic, personal narrative and memory. In many ways, this installation is an emotional confrontation with being quantifiable.

Chris Salter

n-Polytope: Behaviors in Light and Sound after Iannis Xenakis
N_Polytope: Behaviors in Light and Sound After Iannis Xenakis is a spectacular light and sound performance-installation combining cutting edge lighting, lasers, sound, sensing and machine learning software inspired by composer Iannis Xenakiss radical 1960s- 1970s works named Polytopes (from the Greek ‘poly’, many and ‘topos’, space). As large scale, immersive architectural environments that made the indeterminate and chaotic patterns and behaviour of natural phenomena experiential through the temporal dynamics of light and the spatial dynamics of sound, the Polytopes still to this day are relatively unknown but were far ahead of their time. N_Polytope is based on the attempt to both re-imagine Xenakis’ work with probabilistic/stochastic systems with new techniques as well as to explore how these techniques can exemplify our own historical moment of extreme instability.

Wang & Söderström

Wang & Söderström is a Copenhagen based transdisciplinary duo composed of Swedish designer Anny Wang and architect Tim Söderström. The bridging of the physical and digital realms is a major theme in their practice and they are constantly trying to challenge the boundaries between them. Fluctuating between art and design, Wang & Söderström wants to throw out pre-existing conventions regarding the digital and put emphasis on the emotional and tactile side of materials, objects and textures to give the digital a more human-relatable quality and create more meaningful connections. “By 3D scanning elements from nature, like tree trunks, leaves and plants and mixing it with surrealistic materials and behaviors, we wanted to let them continue to grow in a digital environment.”

Bill Vorn

Prehysterical Machine

The Prehysterical Machine has a spherical body and eight arms made of aluminum tubing. It has a sensing system, a motor system and a control system that functions as an autonomous nervous system (entirely reactive). The machine is suspended from the ceiling and its arms are actuated by pneumatic valves and cylinders. Pyroelectric sensors allow the robot to detect the presence of viewers in the nearby environment. It reacts to the viewers according to the amount of stimuli it receives. The perceived emergent behaviors of this machine engender a multiplicity of interpretations based on single dynamic pattern of events.The aim of this project is to induce empathy of the viewer towards a “character” which is nothing more than an articulated metal structure. The strength of the simulacra is emphasized by perverting the perception of the creature, which is neither animal nor human, carried through the inevitable instinct of anthropomorphism and projection of our internal sensations, a reflex triggered by any phenomenon that challenges our senses.




The project consists of a podium with a microphone installed on the sidewalk of the Paulista Avenue, where people could interact through the vocal conversion into musical notes. The 1024 architecture group elaborated a brand new algorithm for this project, which changes the graphic behaviors by means of sounds. Depending on the note sung, several parameters of the program, such as colors, shapes and density.


Nature gives us a lot of examples of complex behavior emerging from the interaction of many individuals. The members of an ant colony are capable of a wide variety of complex behaviors: finding and transporting food, constructing elaborate underground complexes of tunnels and chambers, defending their territory from invaders.