Robotic & Kinetic Art

According to Kac (1997), the development of kinetic art in 1960s opened the perspectives of development for modern media art by breaking away from the concept of stable and static art works. It has shaped a new aesthetic system in our society as, the majority of robot developments were for entertainment and scientific research until 1950s. In modern days, technologies have invaded every part of our lives. Yumaz (2014) pointed out that these high technologies have also added a new view point to the art and the role of robotics and kinetic engineers have become significant in contemporary art.


Robot K-456 (1964)

Korean-born artist Nam June Paik has created numerous low-tech multimedia installations and experimental performances. His early interest in composition and performance has been considered profound and sustained impact om the media culture of last twentieth century (Anderson, 2013).

The Robot K-456 was his first life-size robot that is remote controlled and it was built with Japanese electronics engineer Shuya Abe in 1964 (Mcintyre, 2015). The robot K-456 has acquired a certain value over time as it introduced free mobility and interaction with public (Kac, 1997). The robot was named after one Mozart’s Piano Concertos and it’s programmed to talk, walk, and defecate beans. The robot was hit by a car during the public performance in year 1964, but it was also planned as part of the performance and reconstructed after. According to Mcintyre (2015), the robot is clearly showing the artist’s persistent interests in the relationship between art, technology and human body.



Figure 1. Robot K-456 (1964)


Third Hand (1981)

Stelac’s third hand was created in 1981 for his first robotic performance. Kac (1997) said in his paper that the performance is represented the evolved cyborg and posthuman metaphors. In the Third Hand performance, Stelac explored the possibility of writing simultaneously with his right and his third hand. The third hand was moved with his muscle movements as if it is a body extension. It is very interesting how Stelac has a point of view that the body can be treated as an object and it can be redesigned with technology (Lain, 2008).



Figure 2. Stelac, The Third Hand (1981) Courtesy the artist


One Kind of Behaviour (2000)

Shyu Ruey-SHiann is a Tiwan born artist and he is well-known for creating mechanical and kinetic sculptures since 1997. Xuan Mai Ardia (2016) states that the artist treats the mechanical form as an abstract communication tool and He wants to deliver his ideas and messages about his feeling towards life, current issues which concerns him. His works are mechanically complicated yet the design would always convey the impression of simplicity and that is the contradiction the artist is aiming at (Xuan Mai Ardia 2016).

Xuan Mai Ardia (2016) explained that the installation One Kind of Behavior uses same-sized steel buckets scattered to open and close randomly at a slow speed. The shape of the artwork was inspired by hermit crabs and their slow movements which are contrasting the high speed of society change. The use of steel bucket was a metaphor of hard shell of a crab and it also symbolises the weak human trying to protect themselves. According to the artist, the rhythm the buckets making represent human heartbeat and he wants the viewers to think about how the mechanical developments have been impacting the nature.


IMG_2772_11.jpgFigure 3. One Kind of Behavior (2000) courtesy of Fubon Art Foundation

As Yulmaz (2014) states, artists in these days can benefit from the opportunities provided by high developed technologies and this could nourish art itself as well as offering diversity.



Andreson, J., 2013. Nam June Paik: Preserving the Human Televisions – News – Art in America. [online] Available at: <; [Accessed 27 Oct. 2016].

Kac, E. 1997, Foundation and development of robotic art , Art Journal, vol. 56, no. 3, pp. 60-67.

Lain, 2008. let’s shake hands with the third hand. [online] Available at: <; [Accessed 27 Oct. 2016].

Mcintyre, S. 2015, NAM JUNE PAIK, ArtAsiaPacific, no. 92, p. 153.

The Bronx Museum, 2014. Shyu Ruey-Shiann: One Kind of Behavior – Exhibitions – The Bronx Museum of the Arts. [online] Available at: <; [Accessed 27 Oct. 2016].

Xuan Mai Ardia, C., 2016. 8 Robotics Artists From China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. [online] The Culture Trip. Available at: <; [Accessed 27 Oct. 2016].

Yulmaz, B., 2014. Art Engineering and Kinetic Art. Journal or Arts & Humanities, December, pp.16-21.


Image References:

Figure 1. März, R., 2016. Robot K-456 (1964). [image] Available at: <; [Accessed 27 Oct. 2016].

Figure 2. Stelac, 2016, The Third Hand, 1981, Courtesy the artist. [image] Available at: <; [Accessed 27 Oct. 2016].

Figure 3. The Bronx Museum, 2014, One Kind of Behavior (2000) courtesy of Fubon Art Foundation, [image] Available at: <; [Accessed 27 Oct. 2016].



Digital / Computer Art

Paul (2003) stated in his book ‘Digital Art’ that:

“The use of digital technologies in almost evert arena of daily life has vastly increased during the past decades, leading to speculations that all forms of artistic media will eventually absorbed in to the digital medium, either through digitization or through the use of computers in a specific aspect of processing or production. (Paul 2003, p.27)”

According to Paul (2003), the number of artists who are working with digital technologies as tool for creating their artworks will only increase in the future and also entirely new form of digital techniques and media will be added and adopted as well. As she pointed out, there are many new medias have been introduced as a tool for creation of artworks such as net art, virtual reality, software art, and so on. The artwork components outline an essential feature of our association with technology and its developments.

Rhapsody Spray 1 (2000) 

London-born artist Carl Fudge uses digital technology to creates geometric patterns composed of lines and planes of vibrant colours in silkscreen prints. According to Colombia Edu (2016), Fudge uses images from Japanese animation as drawing sources in much of his recent works. Then he digitally manipulates them for series of screen prints. The rendering turns the images into an abstract form as it is shown in Figure 1. The Rhapsody spray 1 was created based on the Japanese cartoon character Sailor Moon. Paul (2003) pointed out that even though the actual physical form of his prints remains in a traditional way, the interesting composition of shapes and colours gives a distinctive digital feel to viewers. These pop cultural Japanese animation has been widely used for other digital artists as well (Paul, 2003, p.55).


Figure 1. Rhapsody Spray 1 (2000) Carl Fudge

Irrational Geometrics (2014)

Pascal Dombi is a French digital artist who has spent time working with computers and algorithms in creating simple repetitive forms including designs. Nechvatal (2014) described his work as it entails the use of inconsistent coexistence in shaping the destructing structures by building up illogical environments and later project them to different surfaces which include wall paintings and other screens (Nechvatal, 2014). In his interview with Chiang in 2016, he explained how his prints were employed experimentally by trying different variations of inking levels on the same plates several times then print them on various materials. Figure 2 is one of his famous series created in year 2014 and Dombi said it doesn’t contain binary meanings but the multiple viewpoint deals more with perspectivism (Chiang, 2016).


Figure 2. Irrational Geometrics-C B5 (2014), Pascal Dombis

The tunnel under the Atalantic (1995)

Maurice Benayoun is known to be one of experienced digital media artists in France. In 1987, he founded Studio Z-A which became the first example of professional studio equipped with computer-made images. Benayoun’s work shown in Figure 3, tunnel under the Atlantic, was created in year 1995. According to the Asquare Network Research (2012). It is a televirtual art installation, established a link between Montreal and Paris, where two towns physically distant by thousands of miles. The Tunnel enabled hundreds of people from both sides to meet like a virtual bridge (Asquare Network Research, 2012). He created this televirtual event by using digital screens, cameras, and audio systems.


Figure 3. The tunnel under the Atalantic (1995) Maurice Benayoun

As Patti (2011, p.79) mentioned, twenty years ago, the work environment was very different, and people used big computer screens installed by experienced technicians and meet people one on one during the performances while nowadays technology has improved due to the availability of laptops which can perform both simple and complex works. Through advanced media technology, the number of people who can access particular media artist content at a time has much increased (Koltay, 2011, p215).






Chiang, C., 2016. AN INTERVIEW WITH ARTIST PASCAL DOMBIS. [online] ArtAndOnly. Available at: <; [Accessed 28 Oct. 2016]., 2016. LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies. [online] Available at: <; [Accessed 27 Oct. 2016].

Koltay, T., 2011. The media and the literacies: media literacy, information literacy, digital           literacy. Media, Culture & Society, 33(2), pp.211-221

Nechvatal, J., 2014. The Irrational Geometrics of Pascal Dombis. [online] Available at: <; [Accessed 27 Oct. 2016].

Asquare Network Research, 2012. The Tunnel under the Atlantic. [online] research. Available at: <; [Accessed 27 Oct. 2016].

Patti, L., 2011, Global Art Cinema: New Theories and Histories, Film Criticism, 36, 2, pp. 78-80

Paul, C., 2003. Digital art. New York: Thames & Hudson. P.27


Image Reference

Figure 1. Fudge, C., 2000. Rhapsody Spray 1 (2000) Carl Fudge. [image] Available at: <; [Accessed 27 Oct. 2016].

Figure 2. Le Journal, 2016. Irrational Geometrics-C B5 (2014), Pascal Dombis. [image] Available at: < > [Accessed 27 Oct. 2016].

Figure 3. benayoun, m., 2003. The tunnel under the Atalantic (1995) Maurice Benayoun. [image] Available at: <; [Accessed 28 Oct. 2016].


Bio Art

Anker (2014) has pointed out that artists working with biologically related concepts and materials have been growing significantly since the late 1980s. Even though some bio artworks have been controversial issues as it works with life as a medium, there are also many successful collaborated cases with scientists that achieved great recognition outside of the traditional scientific method (Anker 2014, p.16).

The Human Super-organism (2015)

Ann Dumitriu is a Bio Artist with massive experience and exceptional and appealing artworks. Dumitriu fuses her artworks with technology and bioscience to understand the microbial world. Particularly, Dumitriu created an interactive Bio Art piece, The Human Super-organism, which explores and understands bacteria that live in human hands. It’s ongoing  digital installation project.  The artwork is interactive as it requires participants to place their hands on a screen. The screen reveals that bacterial flora that resides in the human body as shown in Figure 1. The interactive screen has a software and utilizes infra-red sensor technology (Vidani, 2016). In her piece, Dumitriu uses her artwork make humans feel that the bacteria in their hands are cultured in a petri dish. This strategy gives her artwork its unique purpose and value. Also, Anker (2014) mentioned that her work with bacteria as communicating tools that change colours when receiving messages has been a great source for bio design.

tumblr_nowgwvj09e1qznjcko1_1280Figure 1. The Human Super-organism (Vidani, 2015)

The Silver Heart (2004)

Jane Prophet is a new media Bio Artist with intriguing pieces of artworks that include the Silver Heart. Prophet developed this beautiful piece of artwork in 2004. According to her description, she collaborated with a cardio-thoracic surgeon to develop this artwork. The art piece clearly shows the delicate part of the human’s organism. Figure 2 reveals a silver heart as opposed to the normal red one. Prophet developed this piece using Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans of the normal human heart (Prophet, 2014). She translated the scans of the human heart into a three-dimensional digital model to generate the unique image using prototyping technology. Prophet (2014) believes that the generation of the image echoes organ transplant in humans and she turned this vital human organ into an impressive art.  According to Mcneil and Ferran (2010, p.81), art brings out creative approach to different themes and ideas in the society. The artwork was generated more than 10 years ago and I think this kind of creative artworks could have been an inspiring point for development in 3D printed organ transplant development. The silver heart is evocative due to the unique and impressive colour of the heart and I believe this artwork has inspired individuals and other artists with its creativity and originality.

03-jane-prophet-silver-heart-in-row-mriFigure 2. Silver Heart (Prophet, 2004)


     Eduardo Kac is a renowned Bio Artist with revolutionary pieces of artworks including the Genesis (Collman, 2016). Kac developed this artwork between 1998 and 1999. The creation of this artwork involves the use of human-activated ultraviolet radiation, bacterial dialogical interactions, and multiplication process. Kac used his own ‘gene’ to be combined with glowing bacteria and projected as live video. The genes were converted into Morse code sequence representing a sentence from the biblical book of Genesis. The artwork was not only exhibited in the gallery but also introduced to the internet. Web-users were invited to turn on an ultraviolet light in the gallery so they were able to cause real, biological mutations in the bacteria and the audience changed the Morse Code sequence. His work was intriguing as he wanted to explore the cultural implications of the biotechnological world and at the same time, he was involving the audience to participate. I liked how he called this bio-engineered art as a new area for fetish. Causey (2001, p.201) described his work as:

“His use of advanced media to create telepresent interactivity and experimental science to create new organisms vividly repositions performance spectatorship within a virtual environment while challenging the ethical borders of biology.” (Causey 2001, p201)

genesisFigure 3. Genesis (Kac, 2001)

Fishwik et al. (2005, p.140) pointed out that artists and scientists could have different point of views and purposes when they are working together, but those boundaries are to be overcome for the greater results and that enhances both parties. I believe bio arts can be provocative but also good stimulators for the development of technology.


Anker, S. 2014, ‘The Beginnings and Ends of Bio Art’, Artlink, 34(3), pp.16-17.

Causey, M., 2001. Stealing from God: The Crisis of Creation in Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio’s Genesi and Eduardo Kac’s Genesis. Theatre Research International, 26(02), pp.199-208.

Collman, H., 2016. Bio Art: An Overview of New Media’s Thriving Sibling. [online] Available at: <; [Accessed 26 Oct. 2016].

Fishwick, P, Diehl, S, Prophet, J, & Löwgren, J 2005, ‘Perspectives on Aesthetic Computing’, Leonardo, 38, 2, pp. 133-141.

Prophet, J. 2014. Silver Heart, [Online] Available at: <; [Accessed 26 October 2016]

Simone, O., 2001. Eduardo Kac’s Genesis: Biotechnology Between the Verbal, the Visual, the Auditory, and the Tactile. Leonardo Digital Reviews, Oct (2001)

Vidani, P., 2016. Bioart and Bacteria – The Artwork of Anna Dumitriu. [online] Available at: < > [Accessed: 26 October 2016].


Image References  

Kac, E., 2001. Genesis (2001). [image] Available at: <; [Accessed 26 Oct. 2016].

Prophet, J., 2004. Silver Heart (2004).  [image] Available at: <; [Accessed 26 Oct. 2016].

Vidani, P.,2016, The Human Super-organism (2015) [image] Available at: < > [Accessed: 26 October 2016].

New Romance – MCA Exhibition


El Fin Del Mondo (The End of the World)

By Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho

The artwork that most interested me was the 2-channel video installation done by Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho. When I walked into the room showing the videos, I was captivated by the fact that two different videos are playing simultaneously. I am the kind of person who never wants to miss anything when watching films and I am never good at multitasking. For me, watching two different videos at the same time was a challenge. However soon after, I have noticed the resemblance of the atmosphere, sound, and mood of two films. I thought, maybe the two videos need to be screened simultaneously in a same space to complete each other.

The film shows two different time periods in the future. One is for an artist guy. In the short film, the guy continues to work on his art project even through the catastrophe. The other screen shows how a descendant of the survivors, a female character becomes aware of the aesthetic senses after the catastrophe. I loved how the film depicts the futuristic settings by carefully chosen objects, their materials, clothes, and interior.

While making their work, Kyungwon Moon & Joonho Jeon asked themselves these questions about a future where major climate change endangers human survival;

Will today’s social systems still be relevant in this future?
What values will sustain our existence?
Will art still be around?
What will we eat and wear?
Will sunsets still be beautiful?’

Don’t they make you pause and think about art and the future?
I found these questions very intriguing.  Will art still be around? Will sunsets still be beautiful?