Undergraduate Degree




DM3002 Robotic and Kinetic Media

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: NIL; Academic Unit: 3.0]




Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description


Learning Objective

To introduces students through practice-based learning to issues surrounding robotic art.


Robotic Art is more than two millennium old and its development has responded to contemporary understandings of body, technology and society. This course examines the theoretical and practical aspects of robotic art. It addresses the perceptual aspects of movement and behaviours in relation to neurobiology, psychology and anthropomorphism. This is then analyzed through the lens of various robotic art genres such as kinetic art, performance, installation, real artificial life and generative systems. Exercises and projects will introduce students to various ways in which embodied art can be realized. Examined will be basic concepts and techniques of mechanical systems, transfer of energy and motion, study of materials, artificial intelligence, mechatronics and animatronics.

Course Outline




• Intro to course

2 - 6

• Context

- History Robotic and Kinetic Art

- Introduction to embodiment

- Anthropomorphism, Zoomorphism and Mechanomorphism

- Empathy and anthropopathy

• Fields

- Contemporary Robotic Art, Installations and Performance

- Perceptual aspects of movement and animacy.

- Embodied Artificial Intelligence

• Implementation principles

- Basic Mechanics

- Basic Effectors and Sensors

- Pneumatics

- Mechatronics

- Prototyping, Incremental Design and refinements


• Mid Sem review of assignments

8 - 12

• Case studies

- Invented Worlds – Demers/Vorn, Amorphic Robot Group

- Artificial Life – France Cadet, Ken Rinaldo

- Performance – Stelarc, Survival Research Laboratories

- Interactive Objects – Steve Rozin

- Haptics and Wearables

• Implementation principles

- Basic Control and Animation

- Analog vs Digital worlds


• Final review of assignments

Learning Outcome

The student will have a practice-based understanding of robotic art practice and the ideas and theories that inform it.

Student Assessment

  1. Final Assessment: 30%

  2. Continuous Assessment: 70% (of which at least 15% is participation)

Continuous assessment components may include:

  • Studio-based exercises and projects

  • Individual, group and team-based assignments


      1. P Auslander, D. Z. S. David Krasner, Humanoid Boogie: Reflections on Robotic Performance. Staging Philopshy: Intersections of Theatre, Performance, and Philosophy, University of Michigan Press: 87-103.

      2. J Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation, Ann Arbout, Michigan, The Univesity of Michigan Press.

      3. J Birringer, Performance and Science, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 29(1): 21-35.

      4. Breazeal, C A Brooks, et al, Interactive robot theatre, Communications of the ACM 46(7): 76-85.

      5. R A Brooks, New Approaches to Robotics, Science 253(5025): 1227-1232.

      6. R A Brooks, Flesh and Machines: How Robots Will Change Us, Pantheon Books.

      7. S Giedion, Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History, New York, New York, The Oxford University Press.

      8. Eduardo Kac, NeMe: Robotic Art Chronology, http://www.neme.org/main/406/robotic-art-chronology

      9. K Kelly, Out of Control: the Rise of the Neo-Biological Civilization, Reading, Massachussets, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company