Director: Nicole Koltick
Principal Designers: Elena Sabinson, Jay Hardman
Engineer: Mike Hogan
Tashia Tucker, Amanda Noumoff, Courtney Walker,
Jack Luo, Rita Truongcao, Sherry Chang, Kristin King
This project envisions a habitat for non-humanity. Autonomous botanists influence and develop a synthetic landscape nurtured by robots for robots; in essence they are flora-forming. Synthetic Ecologies: Autonomous Botanists seeks to explore the poetic potentials of a new robotic species. The robots, terrain and embodiment scenarios within the project put forward a highly novel approach to autonomous systems and aesthetics. This project begins by asking questions about ethics and empathy towards robots, and contemplates the future of their behavior in ways not informed by pragmatics or economy. What if a robot had a hobby? How do robots make aesthetic decisions? What is a robot’s point of view? The project seeks to shift perception of robotic agency and allow the audience to embody the robotic gardeners’ vision, behavior and influence their aesthetics. The project amplifies perceptual differences between humans and robots and allows for both tangible and virtual embodiment experiences from multiple scales and perspectives.
The project's overall objective involves the deployment of robots in more sensitive, empathetic, experimental and aesthetic ways. Our previous work deploying robotic systems involves the investigation of novel ways that robots may interact with us and our environments apart from purely rational or pragmatic purposes.
The project team comprises a multi-disciplinary group with members from architecture, design, robotics, engineering and material science. This project is embedded within the larger multi-year project entitled Phenomenal Machines which is looking at non-human aesthetics and new species of robots situated within speculative future ecologies. Our first outcome is the short film NESL which displays our the synthetic ecology detailed above.
© 2014 Design Futures Lab, Nicole Koltick