AISB 2019 Symposium on Movement that Shapes Behaviour

As part of the AISB 2019 Convention (16th-18th April 2019, Falmouth, UK) this symposium is a transdisciplinary forum for exploring the potential of movement for shaping the expressive and relational capacities of non-humanlike robots and how we perceive them as social agents. Social robots are expected to affect every aspect of our lives in the near future. Currently, the design of social robots in research labs often mimic humanlike or animal-like features, both in terms of how they look and how they behave. We believe, however, that movement and its expressive, relation-making qualities hold the key to widening the spectrum of how we can interact with robots, without relying on a human- or animal-like veneer.

The importance of movement in the simulation of behaviour can be traced back to early cybernetic experiments and artworks, such as, Grey Walter's tortoises and Gordon Pask's conversational systems. Similarly, Heider and Simmel's classic cognitive psychology experiments using simple animated geometric figures, demonstrated the potential of movement to generate social meaning. This symposium emphasises the importance of methods and practices from the fields of animation, choreography, dance, design, puppetry and theatre. Grounded in embodied knowledge, they offer valuable insights for embodied AI, e.g., working with movement as a material, embodying 'bodies', relation-making through movement dynamics, embodied perception, and kinesthetic empathy.

For more information, see the Call for Papers.

Keynote Speaker: Louis-Philippe Demers

Experiencing the Machine Alterity

This talk reports on singular experiences with robots in the context of artistic explorations. These artworks investigate the vast perceptual layers arising from robot movements, the key factors for the perception of its agency. I will hint at behaviours that lead to a stronger identification from audiences, even for bodies dissimilar to their own. In an attempt to depart from the expected behaviours of (social) robots and the anthropocentric dialogue imposed to machines, and rather than identification through mimicry at the morphological level, we shall look at the various coats associated with a body in motion. Rooted in causality and animacy, the qualia of a robot behaviour is multi-layered, multi-faceted and it results from the simultaneous composition of cues ranging from the morphology to the very situatedness of the object in movement.

This talk pinpoints a non-exhaustive list of observations about my artistic journey and experiences with nonverbal robots. Being nonverbal, the robots do not utter any human spoken language nor utilize facial expressions, Such interaction limitation pushes the robot's agency into the sole embodiment of intent and actions into movements, as well as into the context of the scenario where the mise-en-scene is key to the experience.

Professor Louis-Philippe Demers is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist using machines as media. He is Director of the Creative Lab at QUT, Brisbane, AU and holds a Ph.D. on robotic performances. Demers' practice focuses on large-scale installations and performances that have been staged at major venues such as Theatre de la Ville, Lille 2004, Expo 1992 and 2000, Sonambiente, ISEA, Siggraph and Sonar. He has participated in more than seventy artistic and stage productions and has built more than 375 machines. Demers has received numerous awards, including six mentions and one distinction at Ars Electronica, the first prize of Vida 2.0, mentions at Vida 12.0 and 15.0, and two Helpmann Awards.

Symposium Schedule

The following provides the schedule for the presentation of papers in the symposium. For information on the schedule for the rest of the AISB 2019 Convention and a map of the campus, please see the convention programme.

AISB 2019 Symposium on Movement that Shapes Behaviour
Thursday, 18th April

Peter Lanyon Building, Lecture Theatre 1
Penryn Campus, Falmouth University

SESSION 1: 10:15-12:15








SESSION 2: 13:15-15:15


KEYNOTE: Experiencing the Machine Alterity
Louis-Phillipe Demers




SESSION 3: 15:30-17:30






All of the above contributions are available in the proceedings for the symposium.

Organising Committee

Petra Gemeinboeck
The MetaMakers Institute, Games Academy, Falmouth University; and
Creative Robotics Lab, Faculty of Art and Design, University of NSW;

Rob Saunders
The MetaMakers Institute, Games Academy, Falmouth University; and
Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning, The University of Sydney;

Elizabeth Jochum
Department of Communication and Psychology, Aalborg University