Mari Velonaki- Robotic Figure in White

MARI VELONAKI

I just recently discovered Mari Velonaki an artist in emerging technologies and who is Director of The Creative Robotics Lab  http://www.niea.unsw.edu.au/research/organisations/creative-robotics-lab-crl and Associate Professor at the  National Insititute for Experimental Arts in Australia http://www.niea.unsw.edu.au/about .

Below is a robotic statue I think you will find impressive. She appeals to the physical senses a-typically, with virtually no signs of Classical Greek proportions.  ‘Attractive’ in a mysterious way she forces us to understand her intuitively not logically. How strange for an entity of artificial intelligence don’t you think?

What I love about Velonaki’s use of new media in Diamandini, 2013 is that we see the moments from initial impulse to ‘connect’ with erratic moments of silence in the movement between human and machine. Movement being sensory directed is her dialogue with human. Even though this contact is in a state of potential and is thus unpredictable, the interactions are poetic. Imagine we are with Diamandini.  I am convinced we would be immediately curious as to what is happening between ourselves and her together in a public space. She is by far so different from us. She is stiff like a porcelain doll and white as milk. She is a work in progress in that soon over the next few years other parts of her body will be less fixed and will perform with more motor control; for instance be able to touch.

As a figure I find her endearing, she has no language but feels like an innocent child roaming around new territory, carrying a trust into an unknown, vulnerable and socially unconditioned. Another feature of her in this stage which perhaps might change in her next phase is her neutral presence, like someone who ‘listens’ as if she hears the many unspoken conversations, or stories rambling through our head. Or even an uncanny ability to connect from a higher plane of consciousness, she is remarkable and so genuine.

Technology is like another kingdom of nature, it has been with us since we needed food, shelter and clothing. I think projects like Diamandini  are a wonderful reminder about the way we use technology- to serve us or to consume us? Either way it has equal potential to destroy and be innovative on a human level.

After seeing the video what did you notice? How do you think you would feel if this girl in white were to follow you in a public space? Do you find her threatening, amicable or a non-entity?

You can learn more about Mari Velonaki here:  http://mvstudio.org

STAY TUNED: Interview with Wylie Sophia Garcia coming up