Exercise: Precedent Research

For this exercise I would like everyone to look outside the existing course resources to find a project related to the course themes. I am particularly interested in hybrid human-machine performances in which autonomy is shared or adjustable.

As contrast, a traditional puppet is entirely passive; it might have physical dynamics and constraints but all performance autonomy lies with the human. In a different mode, concert lighting shows are frequently scripted to run entirely on automation, with occasional human interact to cue changes or adjust timing.

So a space of interest is one in which the machine acts more as a performance partner, exhibiting autonomous behaviors but also responding to the nuanced input of the human performer. This relationship might even be adjustable, sometimes termed sliding autonomy, in which the human can smoothly dial up or down the autonomy exhibited by the machine, all the way from complete remote control to complete machine independence. This feature can allow the human to decide when higher-order judgement needs to intervene in automatic activity.


Please explore both online and library resources to find another project which can provide insight into hybrid human-robot performance. Please consider the following questions:

  • What is the balance of autonomy between machine and performer?

  • What feature of the work could we specifically evolve into a technique for hybrid kinetic sculpture?

  • What details of the artwork or concept are not immediately apparent and how do they inform the work?

  • Are there closely related works?


Please post a brief report to the course site and be prepared to lead an in-class discussion. Please include the following in your post:

  • one-sentence synopsis of the result

  • a brief analysis of the hybrid qualities, including autonomy (see prompts above)

  • links to additional sources, if online

  • images or an an embedded video, if available