Automated Biography

Event Type: 
Event Type: 
Event Type: 
Start Date: 
19 Nov 2005

Automated Biography

During their residency at Eyebeam the artists collaborative Robot Clothes, comprised of James Powderly and Michelle Kempner, developed Inside Out Life Story, an artwork that combines robotics, art music, theatrical sets, animated toys and artificial intelligence to tell their personal story about a sick person and their partner, life in the hospital and the process of shifting back and forth between two disparate worlds. Elements of the robotics and sets will be on view and an ancillary panel – Automated Biography - bringing together the DIY super stars from all walks of life will take place Nov. 19, 12-6m. The panel is open to the public with a suggested donation of $5.

Nov. 19 Schedule:
12-2pm - Exhibition and presentation of work by Robot Clothes and panel participants
2-3:30pm - Public critique/ design review of work
4-6pm - Panel hosted by Robot Clothes

David Hanson
David Kindlon
Harvey Pekar
Sal Resitov
Hosted by Robot Clothes

The concepts and tools of AI, human-computer interaction and situationally-aware machines continue to move further from the realm of science-fiction and into the hands of artists, musicians, writers, scientists and DIY enthusiasts. As this happens robots and new media are being used to redefine artistic mediums and create highly-personal expressions. Automated Biography is a creative technology symposium exploring the role of technology in the creation of autobiographical and biographical artworks. This panel and group discussion will introduce several examples of alternative uses of technology and media to explore illness, identity, politics and life in the margins of culture.

Biographies of participants:
Robot Clothes is an art and commercial research and development partnership, specializing in robotic systems, interaction design and product prototyping. This partnership, formed in 2002 by Michelle Kempner and James Powderly, utilizes a hybrid fine art and commercial design and engineering approach to support innovative science and technology development efforts for clients including fortune 100 companies, NASA and internationally renowned artists, such as Diller + Scofidio and Miranda July. In addition to contracted research and development efforts, Robot Clothes internally supports fine art projects ranging from a robotic public sculpture for Central Park to an animatronic story about Crohn’s Disease.

Since graduating from RISD, David Hanson has worked as a designer, sculptor, and robotics developer in the entertainment industry for clients including Walt Disney Imagineering, Universal Studios , and MTV. His robotics have won numerous awards and his technical papers have been published internationally. To see high resolution images of Hanson’s robots, please turn to

Starting his career as a mechanical designer of puppets, David Kindlon has since moved onto animatronics. Working in the film industry Kindlon has worked on such major features as Predator, A.I, I, Robot, Godzilla and Day of the Dead. For the last two years he has been working with artist Paul McCarthy, building robust robotic mechanisms to animate McCarthy’s work. His diverse robotic skill set includes remote control animatronics to toy prototypes and industrial design.

Cleveland, Ohio native Harvey Pekar is best known for his autobiographical slice-of-life comic book series "American Splendor", a first-person account of Pekar’s downtrodden life. The series has been published on an approximately annual basis since 1976. Pekar self-published the series until the early 1990s, when Dark Horse took over publication. In 1987, Pekar was honored with the American Book Award for the series. Dark Horse celebrated the 25th anniversary of "American Splendor" in 2001 with a special issue. In addition Pekar has worked as a book and music critic and well as radio commentator.

Dr. Sal Restivo is Professor of Sociology and Science Studies in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Trained and educated in sociology, anthropology, social psychology, and _history, he is a "social theorist" and specializes in social studies of science, _mathematics, and mind. For the most part, his research has focused on problems _in the sociology of mathematics. He has done sociological studies of the history _of mathematics in various cultures, anthropological studies of laboratories, _science policy analysis, and research on science and engineering education. He _is currently constructing a sociological theory of mind and thinking. He has won numerous awards and fellowships for his research.

For more information on Robot Clothes, Inside Out Life Story or to view their lab blog or work on their DIY Humanoid Robot Kit, please visit: