The Art of Bots Reveals Itself at Somerset House in London

Image from ‘Botcave Workshop’ with Matthew Plummer Fernandez, ÉCAL, Lausanne, 2014
Image from ‘Botcave Workshop’ with Matthew Plummer Fernandez, ÉCAL, Lausanne, 2014

Over recent years tiny automated and nonsensical beings have infiltrated our daily life via twitter and email. They have taken delight in agitation by imitating human behaviours – from telling jokes to online-dating. These small computer programmes are called bots (derived from the word robot) and their repetitive and often simple actions have brought fun to – and often poked fun at – the Internet platforms that now mediate our lives.

This weekend of workshops, labs and bot showcases will be a chance to meet pioneers of the bot making community, gain an insight into their practices and also uncover the darker side of these computer programmes. Bot creators come in many different guises and our weekend will feature artists, whistleblowers, developers, gamers, comedians, thinkers and inventors from this global micro-community.

In the showcase discover more about bot behaviours and their creative potential plus how these are connected to histories in automata and movements such as Dada and Fluxus. It will be a unique opportunity to get hands-on with bot inventions and prototypes as they are being created.

Talks and presentations will take the form of the Disruption Network Lab: Bots curated by Tatiana Bazzichelli. This is an ongoing platform of events where artists, hackers, networkers, whistleblowers and critical thinkers enter into a dialogue. This keynote and panel discussion will consider and interrogate the political and artistic potential emerging from the relationship between surveillance and the use of bots. Alongside the weekend of events we will release a programme of bot works online.

Join Abandon Normal Devices for a free weekend of bot inspired performance, workshops, debates and events. Discover how computers are getting better at thinking like us and how they are exposing the cracks in the inner workings of the internet.

The programme is co-curated with Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, a British-Colombian artist based in London known for 3D printed sculpture, bots and the popular blog Algopop.

The Art of Bots will take place in the River Rooms situated in the New Wing of Somerset House (London, UK). For information on and directions to Somerset House, you can visit AND dedicated venue page.

The Next (Digital) Rembrandt Painting Unveiled in Amsterdam

After almost 400 years, a new portrait ‘by Rembrandt’ was unveiled in Amsterdam. The portrait was created by art historians and technicians using data and facial recognition techniques from 346 of Rembrandt’s paintings.

ING, a sponsor of the Rijksmuseum, contributed to the project along with several other businesses including advertising agency J Walter Thompson, Microsoft and advisors from Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), The Mauritshuis and Museum Het Rembrandthuis. The work of art took almost 18 months to complete, consists of 148 billion pixels and was printed in 3D.

The first step in the project was to study the works of Rembrandt to establish an extensive database. The analysis showed that the new portrait should be one of a Caucasian male, between 30 and 40 years old, someone with facial hair and wearing dark clothing.

After this, the subject’s features were generated in the style of Rembrandt. A facial recognition algorithm identified and classified the most typical geometric patterns used by Rembrandt to paint human features. It then used the learned principles to replicate the style and generate new facial features for the painting.

Next, these individual features were assembled into a fully formed face and bust according to Rembrandt’s use of proportions. With the help of TU Delft, a height map was created to identify patterns on the surface of canvases. By transforming pixel data into height data, the computer could mimic the brushstrokes used by Rembrandt.

Finally, to bring the painting to life, an advanced 3D printer that is specially designed to make high end reproductions of existing artwork was used. In the end, 13 layers of UV-ink were printed, one on top of the other, to create a realistic painting texture.

All this has resulted in a work of art that portrays the power and the beauty of data and technology and that will fuel the conversation about where innovation can take us.

More details about this unique project at

This is LINES, a Place for Discussion about Sound, Process and Technology


LINES is a gathering place for discussion about sound, process, and technology. To foster the exchange of ideas: an in-depth response to a newly discovered album, or a possible solution to a common programming/patching issue, or a curious use of toasted pumpkin seeds and mango.

LINES is supported by The monome community has brought together mostly people enthusiastic about grids. Yet much of the content generated has had a valuable, much broader appeal, and they would like to invite a greater audience beyond the (lovingly) grid-minded.

The new forum software: discourse contains modern facilities for community building and information sorting. It’s fast, it’s mobile, and it has excellent searchability. Well-designed community self-moderation is key. Categories outside of your interest can be easily muted.

In the end, LINES is a place will be determined by those who choose to use it.

Maintenant Festival Launches a Call for Innovative Projects Linking Art and New Technologies

The Electroni[k] organization launches a call for submissions for the next edition of Maintenant festival that will take place in October 2016 in Rennes. Propose an innovative project linking art and new technologies, to live insolites and poetics experiencies!

Cloud - Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett / Place Hoche

Artistic crossing, interaction, immersive project, innovation, experimentation, AV performance, scenic device, participation, augmented reality, exhibition, tangible objects, interactive installation, design, workshop, technology…

The project must be professional and not necessarily a premiere. Electroni[k] supports the project up to 5,000€. Apply for one of these two categories:

  • less than 1,500€
  • between 1,500€ & 5,000€

To apply, fill in this form with a file including a link with:

  • an explaining note presenting the project (1 or 2 pages)
  • artworks (sketches, drawings, photos, videos…)
  • material needs (production budget, rider…)
  • every other features helping with the understanding of the project

Call is open until May 10, 2016.

Since 2001, the Electroni[k] organization has been exploring cross-fields, pushing borders, breaking the rules of artistic propositions and locations to link creations and audience. Electroni[k] focuses on opening emerging cultures to the publics, particularly innovative and multi-disciplinary projects: contemporary art, graphic design, digital art, electronic, contemporary or electro-acoustic music for instance. Every year, Electroni[k] invites various artists for Maintenant festival to present exhibitions, installations, interactive setups, concerts, performances, workshops, conferences… and works with 60 artists or collective from the Rennes area, Brittany but also on a national and international scale.

Maintenant is a hybrid festival, a multi-disciplinary event that links ambitious artistic propositions and curious publics around « Arts, Musics & Technologies ». Maintenant has been thought as a snapshot of the contemporary artistic creation ; a poetic exploration of the city guided by innovative experiences, accessible to everyone in the public space and more than 25 different venues in Rennes.

Sound Development City Offers a Three-Week Expedition to Madrid and Casablanca in 2016

Sound Development City is a three-week expedition to two annually changing cities for artists from all disciplines and from around the world. The 5th edition takes place in Madrid and Casablanca from September 6 through 25, 2016.

During the expeditions, the participating artists, an expedition writer and the team feed the website and build an ever growing archive of artistic fragments, research documents and fleeting encounters.

Applications are accepted until April 11, 2016.

Sound Development is a non-commercial, independent and privately funded cultural initiative based in Zurich.
 It is a platform for promotion of, networking of and exchange between artistic and cultural creators. We’re interested in alternative forms of art and cultural promotion as well as in how creative endeavors can be supported.

L.E.V., the International Festival of Audiovisual Creation that Honors by Its Acronym to Lev Thermen


The tenth edition of L.E.V. will be held on 28th, 29th, 30th and April 1st of May across the different spaces of the Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura project (Laboral City of the Culture), and other venues in Gijon, Spain.

L.E.V. stands for Laboratorio de Electrónica Visual or, in English, Laboratory of Visual Electronics, is the International Festival of Audiovisual Creation of Gijón. A project that tries to show  a panoramic and eclectic  vision of the ample spectrum of current genres that come from connecting visual arts and electronic music.


A physical and ephemeral space, concerned specifically with four themes: the natural synergy between image and sound, the live presentation, the relationship established between audience, artist connection and public space, and the new artistic tendences that constantly emerge on a global level.

L.E.V., co-produced by Principado de Asturias Goverment, the Gijón City Council, LABoral’s Centre of Art and Industrial Creation and Datatron 0x3F, honors by its acronym to Lev Thermen.

Follow L.E.V. for line-ups and information.

COLLIDE International Award Open Call

Arts@CERN has flourished since its creation in 2011, binding arts, science and technology to contribute to a fast growing knowledge-based culture. They are pleased to announce the COLLIDE International Award, a major international residency programme and a new collaboration between CERN and FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool).

Photo Credit: COLLIDE Artists 2015, Semiconductor
Photo Credit: COLLIDE Artists 2015, Semiconductor

COLLIDE International Award is a unique opportunity for artists to spend dedicated time in one of the most important laboratories in the world, where crucial questions about nature are addressed. COLLIDE aims to encourage curiosity, offering experimental and open-minded artists an extraordinary framework to inspire creativity both within the sciences and the humanities. Ultimately, COLLIDE proposes to transform the way art and science encounters are understood, and to challenge new modes of dialogue and enquiry.

As the cradle of the World Wide Web and home of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), CERN is an eminent centre of science and technology with great relevance in the culture of today. As an international centre of excellence in these fields, CERN is an inspirational place for artists, designers and creators of any kind to explore and extend their research in the fascinating world of particle physics.

FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) is the UK’s leading media arts centre based in Liverpool, bringing people, art and technology together. FACT harnesses the power of creative technology to inspire and enrich lives through a wide ranging programme of exhibitions, research and innovation, and community-led projects. FACTLab is FACT’s experimental laboratory, a collaborative environment for interdisciplinary practice-based research and production operating at the crossroads between art, science and technology.

The competition is open to artists of any nationality or age. Their  proposal  should reflect upon encounters between art and science, and offer challenging methods of collaboration  with CERN scientists. The scope of this proposal should also consider a second developmental phase at FACT, where the artists will have the opportunity to expand their research and test its applications through FACTLab’s facilities and engagement with a wide range of communities. The ultimate goal for the residency will be the research and development of new concepts in laboratory contexts.

For details on conditions and expectations please follow

The deadline for applications is May 23rd, 2016.

The Jury of this edition is composed of a panel of experts including Monica Bello, Head of Arts@CERN, Geneva (Switzerland); Patrick Gyger, Director of Le Lieu Unique, Nantes (France); Tara Shears, Physicist at LHCb, CERN (Geneva) and at University of Liverpool (United Kingdom); Mike Stubbs, Director of FACT, Liverpool and Professor at Liverpool John Moores University (United Kingdom).

Artists intending to apply shall submit a proposal adhering to the criteria of the call. The proposal should describe, in detail, the project that the artist intends to undertake during the residency at CERN and FACT. The proposal should be accompanied by a filmed statement (no longer than five minutes), defending the relevance of the intended project.

Submission form is available at the COLLIDE International Award page.

Manus X Machina Exhibition: Fashion in an Age of Technology

The Costume Institute’s spring 2016 exhibition, presented in the Museum’s Robert Lehman Wing at the Meth Fifth Avenue, will explore how fashion designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear.

With more than 120 ensembles dating from the early 20th century to the present, the exhibition will address the founding of the haute couture in the 19th century, when the sewing machine was invented, and the emergence of a distinction between the hand (manus) and the machine (machina) at the onset of mass production. It will explore this ongoing dichotomy, in which hand and machine are presented as discordant tools in the creative process, and question the relationship and distinction between haute couture and ready-to-wear.

Ensemble Iris van Herpen
Iris van Herpen (Dutch, born 1984) Ensemble, spring/summer 2010 haute couture Dutch Polyamide, acrylic, leather The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Gifts, 2015 (2016.16a, b) Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope

The Robert Lehman Wing galleries on the Museum’s first floor and ground level will present a series of case studies to unravel the hand/machine conundrum. At the center will be an installation of toiles and prototypes presented as garments in the making or “monuments to ideas.” Emanating from this presentation will be a series of rooms based on traditional métiers of the haute couture, including embroidery, featherwork, artificial flowers, pleating, lacework, and leatherwork, which will be presented alongside versions that incorporate innovative processes, such as 3D printing, computer modeling, bonding and laminating, laser cutting, and ultrasonic welding. A room dedicated to the ateliers of tailoring and dressmaking will reflect the traditional division of a maison de couture.

Manus X Machina will be on display May 5 – August 14, 2016. Find out more with #ManusxMachina.

Of Bodies and Spirits: Soundscapes of Byzantine Thessaloniki

The sonic intentions of architecture, writes Allison Meier at Hyperallergic, are often lost over the centuries. In 2014, a team of researchers investigated the acoustics of Byzantine churches in Thessaloniki, Greece, to retrieve some of that design through sound mapping.

Through this mapping, the researchers can build an archive of a building’s sound, with all its nuances, echoes, and ricochets, that could survive even if the building fell. If the chanters sang in a studio, their song could be processed to have the shape of a particular space, their voices given a different resonance just as the monks would have had in the fourth century. And this is a technique that could be applied to any historic building, whether church or arena or theater. Chris Kyriakakis says on the podcast: “It’s the beginning of creating museums of history, visual and audible, stamps of what these places were like.”

World’s First Virtual Reality Cinema Opened in Amsterdam

World’s very first Virtual Reality Cinema opened it’s doors! It’s located in the heart of Amsterdam, but you will feel like you are in far away countries, animated worlds or places you could never go before. The VR Cinema is a place where everybody has the possibility to get acquainted with virtual reality and experience what it is like to see the finest selection of VR movies that are unfolding around you in 360 degrees.

The VR Cinema

The VR Cinema is a concept by &samhoud media that originated in the form of Europe’s first virtual reality pop-up cinema which toured through several big cities in The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and now settles in Amsterdam. After the grand opening in the Dutch capital cities like Madrid, Berlin, Paris and London will be in for their very own VR Cinema some time soon.

When in Amsterdam, you can pick a date and reserve your tickets for the VR Cinema:


NASA Invites Public to Send Artwork to an Asteroid

NASA Invites Public to Send Artwork to an Asteroid

NASA is calling all space enthusiasts to send their artistic endeavors on a journey aboard NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft. This will be the first U.S. mission to collect a sample of an asteroid and return it to Earth for study.

OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to launch in September and travel to the asteroid Bennu. The #WeTheExplorers campaign invites the public to take part in this mission by expressing, through art, how the mission’s spirit of exploration is reflected in their own lives. Submitted works of art will be saved on a chip on the spacecraft. The spacecraft already carries a chip with more than 442,000 names submitted through the 2014 “Messages to Bennu” campaign.

“The development of the spacecraft and instruments has been a hugely creative process, where ultimately the canvas is the machined metal and composites preparing for launch in September,” said Jason Dworkin, OSIRIS-REx project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “It is fitting that this endeavor can inspire the public to express their creativity to be carried by OSIRIS-REx into space.”

A submission may take the form of a sketch, photograph, graphic, poem, song, short video or other creative or artistic expression that reflects what it means to be an explorer. Submissions will be accepted via Twitter and Instagram until March 20. For details on how to include your submission on the mission to Bennu, go to

“Space exploration is an inherently creative activity,” said Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for OSIRIS-REx at the University of Arizona, Tucson. “We are inviting the world to join us on this great adventure by placing their art work on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, where it will stay in space for millennia.”

The spacecraft will voyage to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu to collect a sample of at least 60 grams (2.1 ounces) and return it to Earth for study. Scientists expect Bennu may hold clues to the origin of the solar system and the source of the water and organic molecules that may have made their way to Earth.

Goddard provides overall mission management, systems engineering and safety and mission assurance for OSIRIS-REx. The University of Arizona, Tucson leads the science team and observation planning and processing. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver is building the spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program.  NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages New Frontiers for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information visit

Architectural Robotics: Ecosystems of Bits, Bytes, and Biology

Architectural Robotics Keith Evan Green

The relationship of humans to computers can no longer be represented as one person in a chair and one computer on a desk. Today computing finds its way into our pockets, our cars, our appliances; it is ubiquitous—an inescapable part of our everyday lives. Computing is even expanding beyond our devices; sensors, microcontrollers, and actuators are increasingly embedded into the built environment. In Architectural Robotics, Keith Evan Green looks toward the next frontier in computing: interactive, partly intelligent, meticulously designed physical environments. Green examines how these “architectural robotic” systems will support and augment us at work, school, and home, as we roam, interconnect, and age.

Green tells the stories of three projects from his research lab that exemplify the reconfigurable, distributed, and transfigurable environments of architectural robotics. The Animated Work Environment is a robotic work environment of shape-shifting physical space that responds dynamically to the working life of the people within it; home+ is a suite of networked, distributed “robotic furnishings” integrated into existing domestic and healthcare environments; and LIT ROOM offers a simulated environment in which the physical space of a room merges with the imaginary space of a book, becoming “a portal to elsewhere.”

How far beyond workstations, furniture, and rooms can the environments of architectural robotics stretch? Green imagines scaled-up neighborhoods, villages, and metropolises composed of physical bits, digital bytes, living things, and their hybrids. Not global but local, architectural robotics grounds computing in a capacious cyber-physical home.

Architectural Robotics is available from MIT Press:

Keith Evan Green is Homer Curtis Mickel and Leola Carter Mickel Endowed Chair in Architecture and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Clemson University.

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