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International konference om leg, kunst og robotteknologi

Playful Robotic Art er titlen på en internationale konference, som afholdes i forbindelse med robotfestivalen Robots at Play 2007. Konferencen sætter fokus på integrationen mellem leg, kunst og robotteknologi og udforsker, hvordan et samspil kan udvikle de tre discipliner.

Gennem indlæg fra forskere og kunstnere fra USA, Spanien, Italien, Japan, Tyskland og Danmark vil konferencen belyse lighedspunkterne mellem disciplinerne leg, kunst og robotteknologi. Målet er at udforske, hvordan brugen af intelligente systemer og robotteknologi kan være med til at udvikle nye former for leg og kunst og omvendt, hvordan leg og kunst kan inspirere til udvikling af nye robotteknologiske produkter.

Konferencen arrangeres af Syddansk Universitets nyetablerede Center for Playware, som professor Henrik Hautop Lund står i spidsen for. Henrik Hautop Lund er formand for konferencen, der afholdes på Grand Hotel i Odense den 23. august 2007 kl. 09 – 16.

Yderligere oplysninger og tilmelding hos Vibeke Nielsen, Syddansk Universitet, vibeken@mmmi.sdu.dk, tlf. 6550 3575, www.robotsatplay.dk

Konferencen afholdes på engelsk, derfor er nedenstående introduktion ikke oversat til dansk.

Playful Robotic Art

The International Conference on Playful Robotic Art focuses on the interaction between play, robotics and art, and how these disciplines may inspire each other to develop novel opportunities in play, robotics and art. Indeed, it is the vision of this international conference to help fostering new insight and opportunities for creations in the intersection between the three disciplines play, robotics, and art, where some of the most avant-garde inventions for human-machine interaction can be found.

Do these disciplines at all intersect, one may ask, and will a possible intersection be fruitful? This conference takes the view that play, robotics, and art do have a lot in common. Play and art are among the most creative, flexible, and complicated human phenomena, that by many are regarded as the quite opposite of technology. In spite of that, new technology is often spread into society through playful products, and many artists are deeply interested in the changes that technology can bring about in our way of understanding ourselves as human beings.

Robotics seems to have the potential of changing our interaction, or perhaps one should say, our collaboration with machines. Robotics is a flexible, “intelligent” technology that can see, hear, feel, and act. While robotics is much more than attempts to build human-like machines, it is at the same time a technology, which has the ability to understand and interact with human behaviour. Robotics is not only about creating technology that serves us, it is also about creating new kinds of art and new kinds of environments to live in and play with.

The three fields of study - Play, Robot, Art

Play can be described as a free, voluntary activity indulged for its own sake, and although creative and sometimes educational, play is unproductive and non-utilitarian. Play has boundaries of space and time, and takes place temporarily outside 'regular life' with its own course and meaning. Play is regulated by arbitrary and contingent rules and conventions, which are integral to the uncertainty of play.

Robot is defined to be a programmable machine that by its interaction with the surrounding environment autonomously can perform a variety of tasks, and its behaviour is different from that of a computer programme by its interaction with the environment through sensors and actuators. We may define a robot to be intelligent in the sense of having the ability to generate a variety of behaviours while complying with the givens of the system (environment).

Art can be described as the human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature. It can be the conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colours, forms, materials, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects our senses – often the sense of beauty – and which may have an aesthetic or conceptual value. We may say that art is a (product of) human activity, made with the intention of stimulating the human senses as well as the human mind; thus art is an action, an object, or a collection of actions and objects created with the intention of transmitting emotions and/or ideas. Beyond this description, there is no general agreed-upon definition of art, since defining the boundaries of "art" is subjective and limitative, but the impetus for art is often called creativity.

Therefore, in order to create an intelligent robot, we need to understand how to create an autonomous system with the free and voluntary activity and all the uncertainties that autonomy may entail. However, we must also understand the rules and conventions of the environment in which the system (the intelligent robot) is placed.

Hence, we find that modern AI robotics and play seem to share many of the same challenges in terms of understanding free and voluntary activity, uncertainty, autonomy, and regulation by rules and conventions of the environment. The understanding of one field may shed light on the other and vice versa.

Also, art and play share a number of characteristics, even though play has traditionally been considered non-productive, whereas art often is characterised by productive actions. However, play may lead to productive actions, and in our modern society many play actions are products in their own right, and though artistic performance is a planned action, it shares expression with different forms of play (including role playing, play performance, etc.). Furthermore, art and play share the common goal of popularity, since in both cases the final “success” is subject to people's recognition of value.

Art and Robotics as well share many goals. From a hardware point of view, robotics is very close to what is called “sculptural” while its AI component may be very close to what is called “conceptual art”, an exploration of the aesthetical components of behaviour. Therefore, the conference wishes to depict a first draft of the intersection of the three fields, underlining overlapping interests and points of discontinuity, trying to come to a newer definition of artefacts and the way to conceive and interact with them.

The conference will present top researchers from technology and arts institutions such as MIT Media Lab, Tokyo Institute for Technology, The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, Royal Academy of Fine Arts Copenhagen, Academy of Fine Arts Bari, and top artists from Spain, Portugal, Germany, etc.

Robots at Play Festival

The overall aim of the Robots at Play Festival is to spread knowledge about robotics by presenting interactive robotic systems in the daily life of the citizens. Therefore, the festival takes place on an open city square, in art museums, library, bars, cinema, etc. in the city centre of Odense that has nominated “play and robotics” as its future focus for industrial and city development. Apart from the prize, the festi¬val hosts numerous events like robot construction, robot bazaar, robot film presentati¬ons, play, learning, robot art exhibition, robot art performances, RoboMusic development, a stage show, an international Playful Robotic Art conference and a debate on robotics ethics. All events take place in the centre of the city amongst the citizens in their daily environment. Please have a look at the video from last year's festival (http://www.robotsatplay.dk/video_engvn.html) and the descriptions of activities and photos of some of the robots from the forthcoming 2007 festival on the web-site.

Robots at Play Festival, Odense, Denmark, 23-25 August 2007 - www.robotsatplay.dk

Oprettet: 15.08.2007


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