A Machine, 2018

Amy LaViers (amy@theradlab.xyz)

Models of machines, including the increasingly miniaturized, digitally controlled machines of modern computers, inform models of human and animal behavior. What are the impacts of this exchange? “A Machine” explores this idea through theoretical and artistic modes. Inspired by known limits on computation, previously proved by Turing, the work models the process of mechanization, machines interacting with an environment, informing a live performance that leveraged a theatrical setting emulating an ideal mechanization machine, audience participation with their bodies as well as their personal cell phones, and readings of academic papers, which is also presented. The results of this work is a shared exploration of when human experience fits machine-based metaphors and, when it does not, highlighting distinct strengths and questioning how to measure the capacities of natural and artificial behavior.


Artist Bio

Amy LaViers (PhD Georgia Tech and CMA Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies) is director of the Robotics, Automation, and Dance (RAD) Lab, a non-profit based in Philadelphia. The RAD Lab is an organization for art-making, commercialization, education, outreach, and research at the intersection of robotics and dance. Since its founding in 2013, the RAD Lab has employed over 40 people, spawned three start up companies, and received funding from the National Science Foundation, DARPA, industrial partners, and several university-based institutions.

Amy’s work has appeared in print in venues including Nature, Robotics and Autonomous Systems, IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, and the Oxford University Press along with live presentations at Georgia Tech, Berkeley, Brown, Princeton, CODAME, and the DanceNOW Festival at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater. She is co-author of a manuscript, “Making Meaning with Machines”, under contract at MIT Press.