Isea 2022 - Possibles



June 11 to 16

Screening / Code_red

Authors: Lian Loke, Dagmar Reinhardt

Work: The ritual of a woman wearing lipstick is an individual act of identity, yet common across cultures. What does it mean for a robot to replace the human hand in such an act? Agency and trust are reconfigured in the intimate zone of close contact between human and machine.


Theme: human-robot interaction, disruptive feminine, lipstick, trust

More information:

  • Abstract: The ritual of a woman wearing lipstick is at once a highly personal act of identity, yet common across cultures. What does it mean for a robot to replace the human hand in such an act? We apply a feminist approach to investigating how robots can collaborate with humans in personal grooming and bodily care towards a future where robots are ubiquitous in daily life. Our work addresses ethical issues of identity, agency, vulnerability and trust in human-robot relations. We explore these issues through cinematic film-making as provocations and speculative narratives.

    Code_red is a video artwork that portrays a solitary female figure awaiting the painting of her lips in red by a robot. In what seems like a simple, perfunctory action sequence by the robot, through a series of images that are deliberately intense and ambiguous, we aim to unsettle the viewer and call into question the integration of a robot in cultural rituals of feminine grooming and presentation.

    Introducing a robot into this highly personal ritual invites a critique of how biological and machine bodies could be reconfigured in the intimate zone of close contact. Deploying an industrial robotic arm is a defamiliarising tactic, intended to disrupt and open up thinking on how we weave robots into our daily lives and private, intimate acts. It is also part of our arsenal of creative practice of the disruptive feminine, a questioning of the construction of the universal female, with its culturally entrenched feminine modes of presentation.

  • Biography: reinhardtloke are Lian Loke and Dagmar Reinhardt: we develop projects at the intersection of art, design, architecture, choreography and human-machine interaction since 2012. Loke is an artist, dancer and interaction design researcher. Her practice questions the role of the body in contemporary society, and how our notions of self are open to transformation through inter-cultural, inter-species and inter-media relations and rituals. Reinhardt is an architect, designer and researcher and extends design research for architectural performance at the intersection of architecture, acoustics, structure, robotics, fabrication, material and construction constraints into multi-disciplinary collaborations. Our work is a critical speculation on the future of human versus machine agency, combined with a creative experimental approach to materiality through digital fabrication, software programming and robotics. We explore new modes of non/human performativity and human experience through prototypes, installation, exhibition and performance.
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