Motion/Emotion: Exploring Affect from Automata to Robots | February 10-December 31, 2022
This exhibition will investigate the emotional qualities of automata and robots by pairing the Museum’s permanent collection with the work of contemporary artists and scientists. By highlighting the intersections between art, science, and emotion, this exhibition seeks to connect the Barry Art Museum’s historical automata to 21st-century interests while also asking how robots can help us better understand our own humanity.
The exhibition will explore the intersections between robots and affect in three sections. The first part will take a closer look at the Museum’s collection of historical automata, kinetic sculptures that predate modern robotics. The second section will consider the work of two contemporary artists, Elizabeth King and Joseph Morris, who both explore the intersections between affect and embodiment in different ways. Renowned for her exquisite multimedia works, King creates intimate sculptures of hands, eyes, and other body parts and animates them through pain-staking stop-motion, with each subtle gesture conveying physical as well as emotional movement. Joseph Morris considers embodiment through abstract, mechanical sculptures, invoking the physicality of breathing, dancing, and other movements. The final section will take a closer look at the science of robotics and affect through a showcase of ODU projects. In this final part, we’ll explore how ODU is at the forefront of important new collaborations regarding robotics and emotion.
If you are interested in learning about depictions of robots in pop culture, please see our Media Companion to this exhibition.
Curated by Sara Woodbury, Ph.D. Candidate in American Studies, William & Mary
This dialogue between Dr. Yvette Pearson & Dr. Yiannis Papelis will examine ethical issues related to the design, development, and deployment of police and military robots. We will identify and examine key ethical issues related to the use of robots for surveillance, reconnaissance, weapons disposal/deactivation, searches, arrests, detention, training, and combat. We will consider questions such as: How are robots different from cars or tools? Will the use of police and military robots reduce injuries and fatalities? Will their use make war more humane or prevent war crimes? Will their use in policing enhance safety of both citizens and police officers? How do we prevent military or police robots from reinforcing problematic biases and corresponding social inequities? Who should be held accountable for the actions of robots in these contexts?
Exhibition Advisory Board:
Peter Eudenbach, ODU, Art Department
Tina S. Gustin, ODU, School of Nursing
Khan Iftekharuddin, ODU, Batten College of Engineering and Technology
Petros Katsioloudis, ODU, Darden College of Education and Professional Studies
Yiannis E. Papelis, ODU, Virginia Modeling Analysis & Simulation Center
Yvette E. Pearson, ODU, Philosophy and Religious Studies
Reading & Research List:
Abnet, Dustin. The American Robot: A Cultural History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020.
Bailly, Christian. Automata: The Golden Age, 1848-1914. London: Robert Hale, 2003 (First Edition 1987).
Burwick, Frederick. “The Uncanny Valley: E.T.A. Hoffmann, Sigmund Freud, Masahiro Mori.” In Romantic Automata: Exhibitions, Figures, Organisms, edited by Michael Demson and Christopher R. Clason, Ithaca, NY: Bucknell University Press, 2020, pp. 19-34.
Elder, Alexis. Friendships, Robots, and Social Media. New York and London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2018.
Kang, Minsoo. Sublime Dreams of Living Machines: the Automaton in the European Imagination. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011.
King, Elizabeth. Attention’s Loop: A Sculptor’s Reverie on the Coexistence of Substance and Spirit. New York: Abrams, 1999.
Kries, Mateo et al. Hello, Robot: Design between Human and Machine. Vitra Design Museum, 2017.
Free Monthly Lecture Series is a series of conversations inspired by the Motion/Emotion exhibition.
All recordings of the past Spring 2022 Lectures are available to watch on the Barry Art Museum Youtube Page.