Performing Robots Conference: Dialogues Between Theatre and Robotics

23-25 May 2019, Utrecht (the Netherlands)
Organized by Transmission in Motion (Utrecht University) and SPRING Performing Arts Festival
Call for Proposals
Deadline for Proposals: 7 March 2019

Robots are increasingly present, both in our daily life and on stage. Theatre makers explore the possibilities of these new technological performers and investigate the opportunities and
implications of a future of living with them. Also in daily life, the presence and behavior of robots raises questions that concern their dramaturgy and design: how do social robots address their
human co-performers and afford interaction with them? What scripts do they follow? How to design and choreograph their appearance and movements? How do their actions invite responses
and exclude others? How do they draw and sustain attention? How do they invite us to attribute character and meaning? What role do affect and persuasiveness play for a successful interaction?
Guy Hoffman observes that theater acting and other performing arts could serve Human Robot Interaction (HRI) as useful testbeds. Heather Knight identifies eight lessons about designing nonverbal interaction that can be learned from the theatre, and demonstrates the potential of comedy for experimenting with and testing out robot behavior and HRI. Elizabeth Jochum points to puppet theatre as source of knowledge and expertise about animating mechanical agents, and shows how theatre can be used to study interaction with care robots. Projects like Towards Corporeally Literate Social Robots (Petra Gemeinboeck) and the Pinoke Project (Deakin University) use expertise from the field of dance and interaction with dancers for new approaches to developing movement for robots.
This conference takes stock of interactions between theatre and robotics so far and looks at possibilities for future collaboration. What do the performing arts have to offer as inspiration, model, and testbeds for robots and for HRI? What does robotics have to offer to the theatre? How might collaboration between the performing arts and robotics contribute to further development of social robots, as well as to critical understanding of what it will mean to be living with them?
The conference will include performances by and/or dialogues with theatre makers Kris Verdonck, Rimini Protokoll, Dries Verhoeven, Angela Goh and others.
We are welcoming proposals for papers, demonstrations and other kinds of presentations by scholars and artists about interactions between theatre and robotics. Subjects may include, but are
not limited to:
– The use of knowledge and expertise (theories, analytical tools, practical expertise) from
the theatre for understanding and designing robot behavior and HRI.
– Practices of making theatre as inspiration for creative approaches to the process of developing robot behavior and HRI.
– The use of the theatre, and by extension theatrical contexts like festivals, as a site for experimentation with the behavior of robots, for trying out and testing ways of communicating with them, as well as for exploring scenarios for interacting and living with robots.
– Creative explorations of robotics by theatre and dance makers.

Proposals for papers should be 250 words in length, in addition to the following information: name of presenter(s), email address, short bio (maximum 50 words). Send proposals to TIM@uu.nl,
indicating “paper proposal” in the subject line. For other formats, please contact the organizers (TIM@uu.nl) with a short description of what this presentation would entail and what would be  required, as well as a short (50 words) bio.
Important dates:
Deadline for submissions: 7 March 2019
Notification of acceptance: 20 March 2019
Dates of the conference: 23-25 May 2019
Transmission in Motion https://transmissioninmotion.sites.uu.nl/
SPRING Performing Arts Festival https://springutrecht.nl/

Aurality: Musical Modes of Knowledge Inscription

Seminar Series of the Research Group Music and Culture

Organizer: Barbara Titus (b.titus@uva.nl)

In recent years, acquisitions and formations of knowledge and the dynamics of power that govern these formations are increasingly theorized through a renewed interest for the ear with physical, mechanical, organic, physiological, psychological and cognitive subject potential.

This seminar/workshop intends to engage with a wide range of modes of knowledge inscription and transmission through the employment of a variety of musicking acts (Small 1998, 9): we aim to voice a song or a praise or a judgement, we perform an argument or debate or encounter, we conceptualize a discourse, a movement, a process or gesture, we constitute synchronizations, disjunctions or confrontations, etc.. In doing so, the workshop intends to raise questions about technologies of transmission, dissemination and inscription of knowledge (sounds, imagery, speech, writing, performance, etc.) and the material on which they inscribe: memories, (human) bodies, paper, hard drives, or songs.

Thursday 14 March 2019

16:00-18:00 hours
Venue: Vondelzaal – Universiteitsbibliotheek Singel 425

Emily Hansell Clark (Columbia University), “Wiet Wiet, Kiaauw”: Birds and Men in Suriname and the Netherlands

On Sunday mornings in Paramaribo, Suriname, dozens of men gather in the central Independence Square to “race” twatwas, small songbirds native to the region. The birds are caged and trained to sing competitively in elaborate months-long tournaments that are considered a Surinamese national sport. The same birdsong competitions can also be witnessed in cities in the Netherlands, Suriname’s former colonizer, where the birds are both smuggled and bred.

My paper dialogues with ethnomusicology/sound studies/anthropology scholarship (Mundy 2018, Kohn 2013, Seeger 1987, Feld 1982) that considers birds and birdsong not as an aural realm of nature separate from the human, but rather as the grounds for taxonomies and discourses that organize human concerns and experiences of self in a world where nature and culture cannot be fully disentangled, whether in the densely green tropical climate of the Caribbean coast of South America or the cosmopolitan urban environment of the Dutch metropolis. I situate this examination in the context of historical representations of culture and nature, the civilized and the wild, as well as present-day concerns including freedom, migration, masculinity, and ecotourism.

Emily Hansell Clark is a PhD student in Ethnomusicology. She holds a BA in Ethnomusicology and Composition from Oberlin College and an MSIS (Information Studies) from the University of Texas at Austin with a focus in sound archives. Emily has long been interested in the archive as an area of phenomenological investigation, as well as in conceptualizations of preservation, tradition, and memory that lie outside of the modern Western archival institution. She is currently involved in a number of community-based repatriation projects with Columbia’s ethnomusicology archive. Drawing from over a decade of experience studying Javanese music and culture, Emily’s currently-developing dissertation project concerns ethnicity, migration, memory, governance, difference, and selfhood explored through fieldwork with ethnically Javanese musicians in Suriname and the Netherlands.

Thursday 4 April 2019

16:00-18:00 hours
Venue: Belle van Zuylenzaal – Universiteitsbibliotheek Singel 425

Attila Faravelli – Sound artist, The Aural Tools Project

Aural Tools uses editions of simple objects to document the material and conceptual processes of specific musicians’ sound production practice. It is a series of acoustic devices for relating sound to space, the listener, and the body in ways unavailable through traditional recorded media such as CDs or LPs.

Attila Faravelli lives and works in Milano (Italy). In his practice he explores the relationship between sound, space and body. His solo music is released by Die Schachtel and Senufo Editions. Together with Enrico Malatesta and Nicola Ratti he is founder of the sound performance trio ~Tilde. He presented his work in Europe, USA, China and South Korea. In 2010 he participated in the 12th International Biennial of Architecture in Venice. Since 2011 he curates The Lift, a series of experimental music concerts. He is founder and curator for the Aural Tools project.

Thursday 2 May 2019

16:00-18:00 hours
Venue: to be announced

Luc Rombouts (University Carillonneur, Leuven), Carillons: Musical Heritage of the Low Countries

For many centuries, tower bells served as voices of local authorities and structured the daily life of citizens in Europe. Some 500 years ago, people in the Low Countries transformed functional tower bells into musical instruments. This innovation was the first ‘music in the cloud’ – one may call it an alpha version of Spotify. Surprisingly, carillon music didn’t die out after the radio, CD’s and the internet arrived in order to offer a cheaper technology of bringing music to large audiences.

Today, the carillon is still a genuine part of the soundscape of the cities in Belgium and the Netherlands, and the carillon culture is gaining importance, as is demonstrated by the recognition by UNESCO of the carillon culture in Belgium. However, keeping this sonic heritage alive remains a challenge. How do carillonneurs manage in keeping their messages relevant? How can the old social medium of the carillon connect with the social media of today? How can the carillon contribute to the experience of time and space in the city? And is this geographically embedded musical culture transferable to other regions in Europe and beyond?

Luc Rombouts is city carillonneur of Tienen (Belgium) and university carillonneur of Leuven (Belgium), where he plays the carillons of the University Library and the Great Beguinage. He has given recitals in Europe and in the USA and has performed during festivals and congresses.

He wrote an award-winning book on carillon history, entitled Zingend brons. 500 jaar beiaardmuziek in de Oude en de Nieuwe Wereld (Davidsfonds, 2010). This book was published in English in 2014 under the title Singing Bronze. A History of Carillon Music (Leuven University Press / Cornell University Press). In 2016 he obtained a PhD degree cum laude from the University of Utrecht on a thesis about the origin of the carillon. Luc coordinated the project that led in 2014 to the recognition of the Belgian carillon culture as a best safeguarding practice in intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.

Thursday 27 June 2019

16:00-18:00 hours
Venue: University Theatre (Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16) – Theaterzaal

Juan Diego Díaz (University of California, Davis), Embodied Listening Capoeira Workshop

Capoeira is a Brazilian art combining, among others, instrumental music, song, dance, martial arts, ritual, and theatre, developed by enslaved Africans in the sixteenth century.

The workshop is accessible to all – no prior experience with music, dance or martial arts is required.  The workshop will include physical movement (learning ginga, the basic step of capoeira, plus one attack and one defense), rhythm (clapping the basic pattern and singing some of the berimbau variations), and song (learning the refrain of a couple of songs). Participants will learn how to correlate these three aspects of capoeira through exercises as a group and by couples. These moves and movements will be emphatically connected with “intellectual” exchanges with the participants, raising questions about the aural knowing, learning and experiencing of this practice.

Juan Diego Díaz is an ethnomusicologist with a geographic research interest in Africa and its diaspora, particularly Brazil and West Africa. He is interested in how African diasporic musics circulate and transform across the Atlantic and how they serve individuals and communities in identity formation. This research has produced a book called Tabom Voices: A History of the Ghanaian Afro-Brazilian Community in Their Own Words (2016) and the documentary film Tabom in Bahia (2017), documenting the visit of a Ghanaian master drummer to Bahia, Brazil.He uses a variety of approaches including close musical analysis, timeline theory, groove analysis, phenomenology of the body, and discourse analysis. He is also a long-term Capoeira Angola practitioner and has led capoeira and samba ensembles.

 

Transmission in Motion Seminar 2018-19

Experiment/Experience

“Have we forgotten experience?” wonders Scott Lash (Experience, 2018). If this is so, we are currently witnessing a comeback with a vengeance. New forms of research and communication explore and experiment with various dimensions of experience. Art and science meet in experimental approaches that foreground sensation, substance and practice. Technological developments “expand the sensible” (Mark Hansen) beyond human experience, challenging the centrality of human experience and raising the question of the relationship between human experience, technological agents and data. Critical thinkers  from a diversity of backgrounds (including media, archaeology, new materialism, post-phenomenology, radical empiricism, human geography and embodied cognition) unpack aspects of the intimate relationship between experience and knowing and point to meaning as material practice of experience.

The Transmission in Motion Seminar is a more-or-less monthly gathering of researchers and students from across disciplines. To participate, please send an email to TIM@UU.nl to receive additional information and readings. RMA Students can acquire 3 EC (awarded by NICA) if they attend all meetings and write blogposts after each meeting. Please register at TIM@UU.nl. For more information, contact Maaike Bleeker at m.a.bleeker@uu.nl.

Seminar program TiM seminar 2018-19

25 October 2018 (15-17h): Prof. dr. Derek McCormack (Oxford University) “Experience/experiment and atmospheric things.”
Place: Parnassos Bar, Kruisstraat 201, Utrecht.

22 November 2018 (15-17h): Prof. dr. Sarah Bay Cheng (Bowdoin College) “Everybody’s Historiography: When Museums Play Digital Games.”
Place: Parnassos Bar, Kruisstraat 201), Utrecht.

13 December 2018 (15-17h): Prof. dr. Nathalie Sinclair (Simon Fraser University): “Multiplication as Experience: Whitehead, aesthetics and gesture-based, touchscreen technology.”
Place: Grote Zaal, Kromme Nieuwegracht 20, Utrecht.

23 January 2019 (15-17h): Prof. dr. Tim Ingold (University of Aberdeen) title tba.
15-17h, Parnassos Bar, Kruisstraat 201, Utrecht.

28 February 2019 (15-17h): Dr. Adam Nocek (Arizona State University): “Designing the Dispositif: Between the Art and Reason of Government.”
15-17h, Parnassos Bar, Kruisstraat 201, Utrecht.

28 March 2019 (15-17h): Dr. Arun Saldanha (University of Minnesota): “The Stratification of Cyberspace: from Experience to Waste”
15-17h, Parnassos Bar, Kruisstraat 201, Utrecht.

2 May 2019 (15-17h): Dr. Eef Masson (University of Amsterdam): “The Sensory Moving Image.”
15-17h, Parnassos Bar, Kruisstraat 201, Utrecht.

 

 

6 June 2019, TBA

Transmission in Motion is a hybrid research community that brings researchers from across disciplines together with artists and other partners from outside the academy. Transmission in Motion provides a platform for seminars, meetings and presentations, and mediates the development of partnerships and research projects. https://transmissioninmotion.sites.uu.nl/

Urban Crisis-Scapes: On Walks and Ruins

Workshop organized by Eva Fotiadi and Maria Boletsi, in collaboration with Ipek Celik (Koç University), Amsterdam, Belle van Zuylenzaal, 16-17 May 2019

The workshop will focus on city-scapes that have recently been radically reconfigured through pervasive frameworks of crisis – financial, political, humanitarian etc. We want to explore alternative experiences of urban space, new artistic imaginaries, and innovative cultural initiatives emerging from such urban crisis-scapes by centering on two distinct but interrelated thematic lines:

Ruins (day one)

Speakers:

Sadia Abbas (Rutgers University), Ipek Celik-Rappas (Koç University), László Munteán (Radboud University of Groningen), Dimitris Papanikolaou (Oxford University), Dimitris Plantzos (National & Kapodistrian University of Athens), Daan Wesselman (University of Amsterdam)
Recent crisis-frameworks have produced new material ruins and transformed the functions of past ruins. The workshop will explore the new meanings and the sociopolitical and affective functions of ruins in crisis-scapes, as well as figurations of such ruins in cinema and art: ruins that range from monuments or antiquities to vestiges of disaffected zones such as derelict factories, deserted buildings, and abandoned construction sites. Images of ruins often exemplify the material consequences of crisis. But ruins are not only markers of decay and desolation. They often become the ‘canvas’ for creative projects and artistic interventions (e.g., through street art) that mobilize ruins to articulate alternative modes of being in a present of crisis and of envisioning the future. Ruins may thus be involved in subaltern narratives, suppressed histories or radical imaginaries that challenge crisis as “judgment of failure.” But they can also become commercialized and fetishized (e.g., in crisis-tourism or ‘ruin porn’) or revamped as fashionable objects. In cities with a dominant presence of ancient and historical ruins – such as Athens or Istanbul – new ruins interact with ruins of the past, reconfiguring the traditional functions of the latter. New artistic and cinematic languages seek innovative ways to explore the relation of material ruins and precarious subjects afflicted by crisis. What new meanings and operations do ancient and modern ruins assume against the backdrop of pervasive crises? Can ruins and their cinematic, literary or artistic figurations contribute to alternative narratives of modernity, the nation, crisis and futurity?

Walks (day two)

Speakers:

Aristidis Antonas (Architectural Association London) , Angeliki Avgitidou (University of Western Macedonia), Efi Giannetopoulou (University of Amsterdam),  Sigrid Merx (Utrecht University), Asli Ozgen-Tuncer (University of Amsterdam), Kathrin Wildner (HafenCity University Hamburg)
Initiatives that use walking as a medium – springing from art projects to architectural research and crisis-tourism – have become increasingly popular. Some walks aim to observe and reflect upon the transformed urban space: vacant housing and commercial spaces, the new homeless, waves of migrants and refugees or the graffiti on derelict buildings. Others show interest in forgotten layers of a city’s turbulent history, which re-emerge through such initiatives and assume new meanings and affective functions in a turbulent present. In other cases – as for example in Athens – guided tours are organized by homeless people or by theatre makers, who set up performative walks aiming to reconcile citizens with the new poor and with districts considered dangerous or ‘migrant ghettos.’ Many of these walks and tours could be considered as crisis voyeurism or as unsolicited quasi-anthropological inquiries that produce (new) social and cultural alterities. However, some of them can also be seen as attempts by locals to make sense of their own situation beyond dominant and over-mediatized crisis narratives. When artists adapt ethnographic methodologies in such initiatives, are they inescapably trapped in a “realist assumption” about the “Other” or in their own “presumptions of ethnographic authority” (Hal Foster)? Can such initiatives contribute to opening up alternative futures for cities in crisis and their inhabitants?

By thinking walks and ruins together, the workshop will address the following topics, among others:

  • Walking as methodology in artistic, architectural, urbanist and other research
  • Revisiting “the artist as ethnographer” discourse
  • Tours around ancient, modern and contemporary historic sites and ruins and spaces of daily life; graffiti tours; “torture and freedom tours” (Documenta14 in collaboration with ASKI, Athens)
  • New significations and functions of ancient and modern ruins against the backdrop of crises
  • Literary, photographic, cinematic and other representations of ruins and narratives of walking within crisis-scapes
  • Alternative uses of ruined, derelict, empty spaces and their relation to subjects who squat, reside and interact with such spaces.
  • New collectivities and social practices emerging from walking and engaging with ruins
  • The role of ruins in shaping alternative narratives of modernity, the nation, crisis and futurity.
  • The (ir)relevance of established theoretical approaches to walking as a cultural practice, from Benjamin’s flâneur to Michel de Certeau’s tactical consumer

To Apply:

RMA and PhD students who wish to attend the workshop may apply by sending an email to NICA (nica-fgw @ uva.nl) by March 1, 2019, with the subject line: Urban Crisis-Scapes: On Walks and Ruins. The workshop will be limited to 25 participants.

Credits:

RMA students and PhD candidates can earn 1 ECT for their participation in the workshop.

Credit requirements: Participation in a preparatory session of the ASCA research group Crisis, Critique and Futurity (15:00-17:00 Friday afternoon, date and room t.b.a.) and preparation of key readings common for preparatory research group session and workshop by selected workshop speakers; attendance of both workshop days.

The workshop is open to scholars or artists interested in the topic. The workshop is already full for graduate students and Ph.D. candidates wishing to earn EC points, but anyone who wishes to attend (part of) the workshop (not for credits), can register by sending an email by May 6, 2019 to: m.boletsi@uva.nl  and s.e.fotiadi@gmail.com

We will accept registrations for attending the workshop on a first-come-first-served basis, taking into account the seats available in the workshop venue, so don’t wait too long!

Artistic Research: Sharing Methods and Practices

After a very successful first edition in 2017-2018, this academic year the ASCA Research Group on Artistic Research (ARRG), coordinated by Paula Albuquerque, is organizing a new series of five seminars on 16 October, 11 December, 5 February, 9 April, 4 June, from 15:00-17:30.

The Artistic Research Research Group focuses on Artistic Research as a new approach to tackling research questions and it aims at promoting the exchange of ideas between artists and scholars from a wide range of fields and disciplines. As a discipline itself, Artistic Research develops a discursive form of communicating research results in parallel with a non-discursive, artistic practice. This enables researchers/makers coming from fine arts, design, dance, film, performance art, theatre and music to share and compare processes of production, methodologies and results with the scientific community, while working as practicing autonomous artists. It allows autonomous artists to delve deeper into scientific disciplines their work is already concerned with. Furthermore, Artistic Research contributes to existing scientific disciplines by its double character of discursive/non-discursive processes and outputs, while at the same time presenting work within the context of existing art institutions. The outcomes of artistic research actively contribute to bridging the gap between science and art, and strive to make its body of knowledge visible in a societal context. By bringing academia and the art world together, artistic forms of research change the social status of both and introduce a potential array of practice-oriented methodologies that challenge institutionalized forms of knowledge production.

A series of five seminars will be organized between October 2018 and June 2019 to promote the exchange of ideas and experiences among artistic researchers and others interested in the field, and during which members of the group will present their research and receive feedback from their peers. One or two artistic researchers who have recently completed their PhD’s will be invited to share their process with the participants of the seminars. The participants include PhD Candidates but also those who have already completed their PhD’s but would like to keep discussing their artistic research within a community of like-minded artists/scholars. Those interested in maybe pursuing such an academic study are also welcome to join as well as Research Master students who wish to attain first-hand knowledge about the discipline.

ARRG works in collaboration with ARIAS (Amsterdam Research Institute for Arts and Sciences in order to bring together all education institutes involved in further developing and supporting artistic researchers projects and degrees.

The meetings will take place on Tuesday afternoons from 15:00 to 17:30 at VOX-POP Creative Space of the Humanities in the city centre of Amsterdam.  The presentations can take the form the researchers find most suitable and productive: a film screening, a performance or a standard keynote or any other.

The preliminary program of artistic research presentations is as follows:

  • October 16th 15:00-17:30 – Tânia Cardoso + Mariana Lanari
  • December 11th 15:00-17:30 – Gijsje Heemskerk + Ilse van Rijn
  • February 5th  15:00-17:30 – Rosanne Jonkhout + Clare Butcher
  • April 9th 15:00-17:30 – Isabel Cordeiro + Ruchama Noorda
  • June 4th 15:00-17:30 – Brenda Tempelaar + one researcher to be confirmed

Complete information will be timely sent to those interested in participating in the seminars (presenting is not mandatory). If you would like to attend our sessions, please contact the student assistant Sara-Lot van Uum: saralotvanuum@gmail.com; and the coordinator of the Research Group Dr Paula Albuquerque: P.Albuquerque@uva.nl. If you’re a Research Master student, please contact NICA directly at nica-fgw@uva.nl and mention your affiliation. Once registered as a participant you are expected to attend all or most of the five sessions.