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Trans-robotics: Highlights of Digital Art Festival Taipei

By Yali Chen
 
The 13th Digital Art Festival Taipei kicked off on November 22 with a performance by SEMISCON Vocal Band that featured a cappella singing and dancing with a robotic chair.
 
Themed “Trans-robotics” (超機體), this year’s festival features a selection of artworks from Taiwan and overseas. They seek to convey the evolution and transcendence of robotic technology and artistic creation.

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Photo from DAFT
Chung Yung-feng (sixth from right), Commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, announces the kickoff of the 13th Digital Art Festival Taipei, which will run until December 1, 2018.

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Photo from DAFT
Chung Yung-feng (second from left), Commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, watches The Big Picture, created by Robotlab of ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe.

According to Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the festival includes a central exhibition and a comprehensive program of talks, workshops and film screenings. All events are free and open to the public.
 
At the core of the festival’s curatorial concept is a reflection of the relationship between robots, artificial intelligence, and humans. The word robot first appeared in the 1920 play Rossum’s Universal Robots, in which the word “robota” represented forced labor.

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Photo from DAFT
The Big Picture, created by Robotlab of ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, is one of the highlights of the 13th Digital Art Festival Taipei.
 
The show seeks to steer away from this classical idea of subservient robotics and imagines a future when machines gain sensory capabilities that are beyond human beings, said curator Lo Ho-lin (羅禾淋).
 
Show highlights include The Big Picture, created by Robotlab of ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe. This piece is a time-based project that entails a month-long drawing performance of a Martian landscape by a robot arm.
 
By this inimitable technique, the robot arm creates a unique artwork with a high level of detail and precision. Hundreds of kilometers of an abstract line converge towards a photorealistic image.

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Photo from DAFT
Upload not Complete, created by Taiwan artists Hu Chin-hsiang and Tsai Bing-hua.

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Photo from DAFT
What’s Your Flavor? created by Taiwan’s digital artists Tseng Yu-chuan and Lin Hao-chiang.
 
In 1964, Nam June Paik and Shuya Abe created one of the first art robots – Robot K-456 – which was originally intended to be a 30-channel radio-controlled robot, but ended up as a 20-channel radio-controlled anthropomorphic robot.
 
The robot was purpose-built for street actions. It not only represented the early stage of the development of digital and technological arts, but was also a classical example of art robots that had become the target of artists’ thinking and creation.
 
The exhibition also includes multidisciplinary works delving into sensory dimensions such as the five senses, the heart and performance art.
 
For more information, please go to http://digitalarts-festival.taipei/