Keynote speakers: Ken Goldberg, University of California, Berkeley and Joanna Zylinska, Goldsmiths, University of London

The idea of creatively designing robots brings together the supposedly diverse fields of art, design and AI/Human-Robot Interaction. Described as an “unlikely symbioses” (Herath, Kroos & Stelarc) whereby the impracticality of art seems a strange contribution to engineering and sciences, the combination of art and robots is gaining worldwide interest in practical and academic research and in recent international exhibitions. Human-Robot Interaction researchers are beginning to reach out to fields not traditionally associated with robotics, such as the performing arts and animation, in order to gain new insights. Indeed, as robots proliferate in our everyday lives, new approaches and the role of design become central for it is designers who shape the interfaces between humans and machines. In fact it is from the arts, whether cinematic or literary, that popular imagination about robots was initially formed. Art and design, in other words, can be used both theoretically and practically to rethink how robots were once imagined, what robots are today and what they may become.

By drawing from the cross pollination of HRI, design and art, the meeting of technology and aesthetics can be examined. This multidisciplinary conference seeks to explore what the added value of art is to HRI, as a process of design, as a source of inspiration, simulation or as practice-based research, to name a few. This CFP is an opportunity to expand the discussion between the fields. By exploring the concepts, technology, history and philosophy of the intersection between HRI, art and design we hope to forge new connections between these disciplines and industries.

This potential avenue of research touches upon many topics, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Robots in art - then and now, overlaps and inspirations
  • Designing and animating life 
  • Animation, installation and performance art dealing with HRI
  • The Uncanny Valley 
  • Blurring boundaries between the organic and inorganic
  • Character and/or motion design in animation and robotics
  • Digital bodies - anthropomorphism and/or non-humanoid characters
  • Designing for empathy 
  • Facial animation, gesture design and inter-species communication  
  • Puppets, masks and fantastical mechanical creatures 
  • The Robotic Body, AI and/or embodiment 
  • Theological issues of bestowing life, control and “playing god” in art and robotics
  • Sameness and otherness in robotic art and design 
  • Non-human/machine/computer vision in relation to AI/robots and HRI
  • Robots/AI and Performance theory - from functioning to performing 
  • Unique challenges to collaborations between HRI research and the arts
  • Related ethical, social, and political issues

The conference will take place on January 10, 2019. We invite theorists and practitioners, established and emerging scholars to submit an abstract for a 20 minutes presentation in English. Please send the abstract (250 words maximum, preferably with 3-5 references and 3-5 keywords), including a short biography and full contact information to neae@bgu.ac.il by October 25, 2018. 

Applicants will be notified of the status of their submission by November 6, 2018.

The conference is a collaborative project between the Department of the Arts, the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel and Industrial Design at the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem.