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Title: From Soft Sculpture to Soft Robotics: Retracing a Physical Aesthetics of Bio-Morphic Softness
Authors: Jørgensen, Jonas
Keywords: soft robotics
robotic art
soft sculpture
Issue Date: 18-Oct-2017
Abstract: Soft robotics has in the past decade emerged as a growing subfield of technical robotics research, distinguishable by its bio-inspired design strategies, interest in morphological computation, and interdisciplinary combination of insights from engineering, computer science, biology and material science. Recently, soft robotics technology has also started to make its way into art, design, and architecture. This paper attempts to think an aesthetics of softness and the life-like through an artistic tradition deeply imbricated with an interrogation of softness and its physical substrates, namely the soft sculpture that started proliferating in the late 1960s. Critical descriptions of these works, interestingly, frequently emphasize their similarities with living organisms and bodies as a central tenet of their aesthetics. The paper seeks to articulate aspects of a contiguity between softness and “the life-life” in these works through readings that draw on concepts from technical soft robotics research and the description of life in physics (via entropy). It is argued, that fractions of soft sculpture anticipate central interests and notions present in contemporary technical soft robotics research.
Description: Biography: Jonas Jørgensen is trained as a physicist (BSc) and an art historian (BA, MA). He is currently a PhD fellow at the IT University of Copenhagen with a project that focuses on the intersection of robotic technology with art and aesthetics. Jonas is also a practicing media artist. In 2016 his collaborative artistic work was exhibited in Denmark, Norway and Finland under the Hybrid Matters project.
Appears in Collections:1. Re:Trace Conference - Keynotes, Papers & Posters

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