Motion/Emotion: Exploring Affect from Automata to Robots

Elizabeth King and Richard Kizu-Blair,1991.

Motion/Emotion: Exploring Affect from Automata to Robots

February 10, 2022 - July 31, 2022

Motion/Emotion: Exploring Affect from Automata to Robots

February 10-July 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. 

IMAGE: Elizabeth King and Richard Kizu-Blair, What Happened, 1991, remastered for high definition video 2008, silent stop-frame animation, two minutes. Image courtesy of Elizabeth King.

Curated by Sara Woodbury, Ph.D. Candidate in American Studies, William & Mary


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, STEM Education and Professional Studies

Yvette E. Pearson, ODU Philosophy and Religious Studies