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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 - December 31, 2022 View Exhibition Promo Video

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. 

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

 

Related Programming: 

  • AutomaTuesday | Tuesdays @ noon

Join us for a weekly wind-up Each week museum educators will lift the vitrines and wind-up one of our historic automatons. Enjoy these mechanical wonders of yesteryear in-person (join us in our doll gallery) &/or LIVE-streamed on Instagram.

 

  • Exhibition Advisory Board Panel Discussion for Motion/Emotion: Exploring Affect from Automata to Robots, February 3 | 6:00 PM

Our FREE monthly lecture series picks back up with our newest exhibition. Join us for an evening of behind-the-scenes conversations regarding the curation, research & programmatic planning behind Motion/Emotion: Exploring Affect from Automata to Robots. Today’s talk is between members of the exhibition advisory board. Dig into the context of our permanent collection, which features a large assortment of historical automata. Learn more about the contemporary artists who make works informed by the automata of yesteryear, such as Elizabeth King and Joseph Morris. Look forward to solutions that are being used to improve human life and hear the stories that inspired these new technologies!  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 Charlotte Potter, Barry Art Museum, Executive Director  This interdisciplinary exhibition investigates the emotional qualities of automata and robots by pairing the Museum’s permanent collection with the work of contemporary artists and scientists. The exhibition opens with the Barry’s collection of historical automata before shifting to the work of contemporary artists Elizabeth King and Joseph Morris. The gallery also features a selection of actual robots created in the Hampton Roads area. By highlighting the intersections between art, science, and emotion, this exhibition connects the Barry Art Museum’s historical automata to 21st-century interests while also asking how robots can help us better understand our humanity.

 

  • VIP Members Virtual Exhibition Preview, February 10 | 6:00 PM

Barry Art Museum members are invited to a VIP Virtual preview of Motion/Emotion: Exploring Affect from Automata to Robots. Join us as we scroll around the galleries for an early-bird look at our electrifying exhibition! This virtual sneak preview and conversation is a membership perk! Virtual event link will be emailed. Become a member to enjoy this event!  Thank you for your support.

 

  • Public Exhibition Opening for Motion/Emotion: Exploring Affect from Automata to Robots, February 11 | 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

The Barry Art Museum is pleased to invite you to join us for the opening of Motion/Emotion: Exploring Affect from Automata to Robots. This event is FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. (members: register and receive a free drink ticket! #membershipperks) Centuries before we imagined robots, mechanical beings were experienced through clockwork-powered sculptures called automata. Designed for amusement, automata would help inspire modern computing and related technologies while also encouraging philosophers, scientists, artists, and others to contemplate the possibilities of artificial intelligence. Dig deep into this lineage from historical dancing automata to robots that are improving human life in the fields of medicine, public safety & psychology. Opening event will feature light refreshments & a cash bar, as well as music and mingling! Join us in celebration of this electric exhibition! 5-8PM. Registration encouraged, but not required.

 

  • Free Monthly Lecture Series feat. Joseph Morris & Khan Iftekharuddin, March 3 | 6PM

The Barry Art Museum is proud to present our Free Monthly Lecture Series, brought to you by the Office of Community Engagement, featuring conversation between contemporary artist Joseph Morris & Khan Iftekharuddin, Professor & Interim Dean, Batten College of Engineering & Technology.

In a conversation inspired by our newest exhibition, Motion/Emotion: Exploring Affect from Automata to Robots, Morris,  who makes kinetic sculpture that appears to breathe & Iftekharuddin, who has been using the NAO robot to explore emotion with autistic children will discuss their work, and dissect the intersection between robotics and humanity. 

 

  • U-Nite: Movement & Breath, March 11 | 5-8PM

Our U-Nite programming returns for the spring semester! Join us as we respond to our newest exhibition, Motion/Emotion: Exploring Affect from Automata to Robots. This exhibition blurs the lines between AI and humanity with robots that appear to -b r e a t h e-. U-Nite: Movement & Breath will focus on intentional motion with participatory programs by ODU Dance, yoga, & more. Ca$h bar & light refreshments!

 

  • Free Monthly Lecture Series feat. Elizabeth King & Jere Ryder, April 7 | 6PM

The Barry Art Museum is proud to present our Free Monthly Lecture Series, brought to you by the Office of Community Engagement, featuring artist Elizabeth King, in conversation with Jere Ryder, the conservator at the Morris Museum.

Mark your calendar! More information to come. 

 

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

 

Reading & Research List: 

Abnet, Dustin. The American Robot: A Cultural History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020.

Ackerman, Evan. “Robotic Tortoise Helps Kids to Learn That Robot Abuse Is a Bad Thing.” IEEE Spectrum, March 14. 2018. 

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.

Hix, Lisa. “Ancient Androids: Even Before Electricity, Robots Freaked People Out.Collector’s Weekly, July 30, 2018.

Hsu, Jeremy. “Why “Uncanny Valley” Human Look-Alikes Put Us on Edge.” Scientific American, April 3, 2012. 

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.

Lay, Stephanie. “Uncanny Valley: Why We Find Human-Like Robots and Dolls So Creepy.The Guardian, November 13, 2015. 

Meagher, Jennifer. “Orientalism in Nineteenth-Century Art.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–.  (October 2004).

McRobbie, Linda Rodriguez. “The History of Creepy Dolls.” Smithsonian Magazine, July 15, 2015.