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Workshop 2 Speakers: Machines Without Humans // Post-robotics

Possible Bodies

How do human and machinic movements co-construct each other? In what way are their respective gestures and behaviours shaped through the apparatuses at work? This contribution looks at computational imaginations of moving bodies and their articulation and enactment through software, interfaces and devices. Thinking with the practices of 3D-modelling, dance notation and motion capture, I would like to look at the way human movement is encoded into machines, and how an engagement with their ‘alien logic’ might open up the conditions of the possible. It is an attempt to reclaim digital bodies from the forces of optimization, capture and prediction and to repoliticize them through their potential for more-than-human movement.

Possible Bodies is a collaborative research initiated by Jara Rocha and Femke Snelting. It activitates the very concrete and at the same time complex and fictional entities that "bodies" are, asking what matter-cultural conditions of possibility render them present. This becomes especially urgent in contact with the technologies, infrastructures and techniques of 3D tracking, modelling and scanning.


Femke Snelting

Femke Snelting works as artist and designer, developing projects at the intersection of design, feminism and free software. In various constellations she has been exploring how digital tools and practices might co-construct each other. She is member of Constant, a non-profit, artist-run association for art and media based in Brussels. Femke teaches at the Piet Zwart Institute

Self-learning material flow systems

Material flow controls coordinate the providing of materials at the right time and in the right place in the desired quantity and quality. Every production system needs a highly optimized material flow between the single productions steps. The classical material flow control is pyramid-shaped. A hierarchical structure consisting of system control, subsystem control, area control and element control realizes the desired material flow.

Future material flow controls will have an intensive communication between element controllers. Autonomously acting agents have the ability to control single material flow elements. Due to the networking of the agents and a machine learning approach, the agent system is now able to self-organize the correct material flow.

In this talk, this change from classical material flow controls to the self-learning controls will be discussed and validated. The material flow of the future is no longer controlled by humans (through the programming of controls), but the agent system learns autonomously to organize it.

Simon Hoher and Florian Jaensch

Simon Hoher is professor of mechatronics in the program on information technologies and systems management at the University of Applied Sciences Salzburg since October 2017. Since 2013, he conducted various national and international projects on Industry 4.0 (e.g. BMBF RobIN 4.0, EU FP7 ReBorn, BMWi ReApp) at Industrielle Steuerungstechnik GmbH, Stuttgart. Together with industrial partners he developed new concepts of robust data collection and evaluation for production facilities. From 2009 to 2013, Simon Hoher was doctoral researcher at the Institute for Control Engineering of Machine Tools and Manufacturing Units, University of Stuttgart. His dissertation was on mechatronics of material flow.

Florian Jaensch received the B.Sc. (2013) and the M.Sc. (2015) in mechanical engineering from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. He joined the Institute for Control Engineering of Machine Tools and Manufacturing Units in 2016 as a research assistant. He is part of the research group Virtual Methods for Production Engineering and is currently working in a project with Soft-Tissue Robotics and machine learning for digital production systems.

Future Session

Small workshop organized in world-cafe style, starting with the talks as inspiring impulses and then switching to group work modus in which participants share their visions and discuss opportunities and challenges of the convergence of humans and machines.

Simone Kimpeler

Dr. Simone Kimpeler is Head of Competence Center Foresight at Fraunhofer ISI, Germany. After a Doctorate in Communication Research received from University of Münster, Germany, she started as researcher / project manager at Fraunhofer ISI in 2000. Since 2013 she is leading the Foresight team. Her work focuses on future-oriented socio-technological analysis, in particular scenario development and analysis, stakeholder dialogues and visioning processes.

Aesthetic Preferences of Machines

Nowadays, machines are already present as agents in the art world. They act as curators, artists, and recipients, influenced by the data engineers give to them. On these grounds, machines shape human experience in what and how they see. This raises both well-known questions about the nature of art and curating and new questions about changing human experiences. But how far can machines really go in these fields? Can the aesthetic classifications they make be traced back to mechanical aesthetic preferences?

Maike Klein and Maximilian Lehner

Maike Klein is a doctoral researcher in Philosophy at the University of Stuttgart, after having completed a binational M. A. from the Universities of Stuttgart and Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint Denis. In her thesis on the topic of “Emotions in artificial systems”, she mainly considers the links between Philosophy, Psychology, and Computer Science.

Maximilian Lehner is a doctoral researcher at KU Linz (Institute of Contemporary Arts and Media) after completing an M.A. in cultural philosophy at the universities of Stuttgart and Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint Denis. His research interests are in artistic research practices and in co-operations between art and technology. He is also co-founder of the art agency The Real Office in Stuttgart and exhibited in “Time-Space-Existence” at La Biennale Architettura 2016 with ISA STEIN Studio.


Nintendogs is a wall installation. An apparatus made of electrical engines and metal bars moves a Gameboy console in order to make a touch screen pencil stroke a virtual puppy.

Do robots dream of virtual puppies? The Gameboy game “Nintendogs” is about training puppies. Additionally, and occasionally it seems crucial, simulating spare time with virtual pets is an important part of the game. The installation “Nintendogs” asks therefore: Will artificial empathy play any role one day? Does a virtual dog recognize that it’s stroked by a robot? Can a virtual dog sympathize with this robot?

Fabian Kühfuß

Fabian Kühfuß works as media artist in Stuttgart after studying visual arts at Freie Kunstakademie Nürtingen (FKN). He received a project grant by the Karin-Abt-Straubinger-Stiftung (2012), a studio grant by the City of Stuttgart (2015-19), and won the 27th Stuttgarter Filmwinter prize for “media in space.” Since 2015, he is a lecturer in FKN’s New Media Class. He led workshops at International Festival of Animated Film Stuttgart and with Thomas C. Weber and Frieder Schlaich in Zimbabwe.

Cultural sensitive gesture libraries in HRI - An Italian - Japanese Comparison

Gestures are an essential part of human-human face to face interaction, specifically during conversations. They are very important for human nonverbal communication and ensure socially comfortable interactions.
They facilitate not only turn taking behavior, but also the understanding of emotional internal states of others. In contrast to most subconscious nonverbal communication signals, like body posture and blinking, manual gestures are culture dependend. Communicative gestures have evolved in different parts of the world to have different meanings and to be used with different frequencies. This implies that these differences have to be taken in consideration when generating conversational interaction behaviors for robotic platforms to be used in different cultural contexts. This talk will illustrate this necessity by using examples from an Italian - Japanese comparative HRI study.

Hagen Lehmann

Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK.