Human beings have been developing machines for thousands of years. But what drives us on to do so? Is it the urge to understand and recreate nature and its processes? Is it perhaps our audacious pretensions to be capable of improving on the world as it is? Or are we just curious? What Machines Dream Of is an exhibition that nicely complements the festival theme. It brings together artistic machines that, in contrast to their counterparts in industry and commerce, have absolutely nothing to do with rationality and perfection. These machines of breathtaking beauty are simply enchanting.

The term Robotinity and the exhibition of the same name are emblematic of how robots and humanity are growing ever closer together. On display here are examples of this from art, design and science that clearly illustrate how intensively humankind and robots are already living and working together.

Three works by Hiroshi Ishiguro (JP) and Ryota Kuwakubo (JP) in this exhibition have been created especially for Ars Electronica 2011.

Telenoid is the latest creation by robotics expert Hiroshi Ishiguro (JP). It applies parameters of behavioral psychology to utilizing a new form of telecommunication. The Telenoid resembles a baby; during a telephone conversation, you hold it in your arms. Every change in the speaker’s voice is reflected by the robot’s facial expression. In interpersonal communication, it serves as a three-dimensional medium that can also get across body language.

In constructing robots, we are often inspired by how people behave and move or by the human physique. Ryota Kuwakubo (JP) takes a totally different approach in SiliFulin (hip swing), a robot equipped with a tail and a corresponding repertoire of movements.

In Lost #2 Ryota Kuwakubo (JP) dissociates the connection between useful value and functionality. Here, he lets the shadows of common household implements dance along walls and form poetic objects or strange landscapes. A simple strainer morphs into a majestic skyscraper, a light bulb into a whole power plant.

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