Humans and Machines: The Robotic Worlds of Adrianne Wortzel

September 2, 2014 – January 4, 2015

Lecture with Adrianne Wortzel
September 24, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Adrianne Wortzel utilizes computer software, robotics, video and fictive narratives to create robotic worlds filled with humanlike creatures, historical references and scientific data. She works with contributions from researchers, scientists and robotic experts from across the globe to examine the relationship between humans and machines through art. Featured in the New Media Gallery are two of her short films entitled The Veils of Transference and archipelago.ch.

The Veils of Transference depicts a dialogue between a robot and human in a psychoanalytic therapy session, where the lines between their roles as analyst and analysand become blurred.  The video evidences a human’s desire to be robotic and a robot’s programmed desire to be human. The session is set in a green-screen environment that displays the accompanying dreams and unconscious narratives and the human’s mind and the robot’s database.  Each of the characters seemingly long for the role of the other; each has a sense of their own history. Together they ponder the thin line between “memory” and “database.”

archipelago.ch depicts a tour of a newly discovered series of AI robotic research labs as “islands” and iterates the discovery, analysis and interpretation of their terrain and their robots as indigenous creatures. The idiosyncratic robots are evolved by each researcher from their choice of morphologies occurring in nature, i.e., a insect eye, mouse whiskers discerning textures by touch, etc. The lab terrains are strewn with the tools and detritus of each researcher’s endeavors, which are treated as flora.  The voiceover tour of this archipelago is by Charles Darwin from Chapter 17 of the Voyage of the Beagle-Galapagos. Initiated during Wortzel’s 2004 Swiss-Artists-In-Labs Award: Residency at Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, University of Zurich, Switzerland. World premiere March 9-, 2013 at ROBOTS ON TOUR, World Congress and Exhibition of Robots, Humanoids, Cyborgs and more, Zurich, Switzerland.

Adrianne Wortzel received her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and a Master of Fine Arts in Computer Art from the School of Visual Arts in New York. She has received numerous grants, honors and residencies, as well as opportunities to speak and teach throughout her career. She has been published both as a writer and artist and has been exhibited in numerous collections, exhibitions and reviews. Wortzel is currently a Professor of Entertainment Technology and Emerging Media Technologies at New York City College of Technology, the senior technical college in the City University of New York (CUNY) system. She serves on the doctoral faculty of the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy Certificate Program at the CUNY Graduate Center. Wortzel is the Founding Director of StudioBlueLab, a robotics and theater laboratory initiated during her tenure as an Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. StudioBlueLab now resides at New York City College of Technology.

Each film is about 25 minutes long and will be screened in a loop every other day.
This exhibition was organized by the Asheville Art Museum in coordination with the Artist.

View selected works in the exhibition »