A swarm of 15 mobile semi-autonomous robots create an emotionally charged atmosphere through their own kind of body language and behaviours. Simultaneously, the orchestra of creatures compose a real-time soundtrack engaging the perceptual engine of the listener in an unusual way using ultrasonic directional acoustics and multi-channel modular synthesis.
Cybernetic Intimacy explores interspecies communication between humans and this mechatronic lifeform. The artwork provokes thought about what we expect from robots and Artificial Intelligence. Do we want a swarm of robots to treat us with empathy or to regard us as an optimisation target?
Cybernetic Intimacy creates unfamiliar and exciting situations for the audience who can interact with an AI embodied in a robot and experience the unusual physical phenomena of directional sound.
When entering their habitat and interacting with the Cybernetic Intimacy robots, the audience will be part of a psychological experiment in interspecies communication experiencing how they start to ascribe different emotional states and intentions to the non-humanoid machines.
Reacting to proximity and different forms of expressions, the robots change their behaviours which creates a dialogue in which both species investigate each other. Even simple movements towards or away from the human give space for the imagination about the robot’s playfulness, sympathy or friendliness.
Photo credits: Ramaida Osim (at Minorete Church, Maribor), the artists (Brisbane and Mackay, Australia)