January 10, 2019

Sarah Tadmor Auditorium, Deichmann Building for Community Action (#18),
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel​

The conference is a collaborative project between the Departments of Arts (Nea Ehrlich) and Industrial Engineering and Management (Tal Oron-Gilad, Vardit Sarne-Fleischmann and Yael Edan) at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev with the M.Des Program in Industrial Design (Romi Mikulinsky) at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem.

This conference is supported by ABC Robotics Initiative and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences for Multidisciplinary Research Activities, both at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem.  

program - pdf version

Participation is free of charge, but pre-registration is necessary.​

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The idea of creatively designing robots brings together the supposedly diverse fields of art, design and AI/Human-Robot Interaction. Described as an “unlikely symbioses" (Herath, Kroos & Stelarc) whereby the impracticality of art seems a strange contribution to engineering and sciences, the combination of art and robots is gaining worldwide interest in practical and academic research and in recent international exhibitions. Human-Robot Interaction researchers are beginning to reach out to fields not traditionally associated with robotics, such as the performing arts and animation, in order to gain new insights. Indeed, as robots proliferate in our everyday lives, new approaches and the role of design become central for it is designers who shape the interfaces between humans and machines. In fact it is from the arts, whether cinematic or literary, that popular imagination about robots was initially formed. Art and design, in other words, can be used both theoretically and practically to rethink how robots were once imagined, what robots are today and what they may become.

By drawing from the cross pollination of HRI, design and art, the meeting of technology and aesthetics can be examined. This multidisciplinary conference seeks to explore what the added value of art is to HRI, as a process of design, as a source of inspiration, simulation or as practice-based research. By exploring the concepts, technology, history and philosophy of the intersection between HRI, art and design we hope to forge new connections between these disciplines and industries.

Keynote Lecturers

Joanna Zylinska, Goldsmiths, University of London 

Ken Goldberg, UC Berkeley​


Welcome & opening remarks  

Keynote:  Joanna Zylinska (Goldsmiths, University of London)

11:15- 11:00   
Coffee break

Panel 1: (Un)natural Bodies

Chair: Romi Mikulinsky

Nea Ehrlich - Looks Familiar: Recognizability, Realism and Robotic Vision (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)

Eliyahu Keller - Virtually, Actually, Accidently, Human: Westworld and the Problem of the Real (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)  

Cristina Moraru - The Aesthetic Machine. Art and Technology in Post-Humanist Times (George Enescu National University of Arts, Romania)

George Themistokleous - Digitized and Re-Doubled Bodily Images (Leeds Beckett University, UK)


14:00-15:30    ​

Panel 2: Mechanized Creativity
Chair: Eyal Fried

Romi Mikulinsky – Unlearning Machine Learning: New Narratives for Human-Robot Relations (Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Israel)

Barbara Oettl - From Virtual to Literal Cyborg: ORLAN's ORLAN-oïde (University of Regensburg, Germany and CISC – Cologne Institute of Conservation Sciences)

Simon Ingram - Unthunk Device (University of Auckland, New Zealand)

Hila ShemerPythia: The Confession Robot (Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Israel)

Coffee break


Panel 3: Designing Curious Encounters
Chair: Nea Ehrlich

Meike Uhrig - Homo Artificiosus (Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Germany)

Liat Lavie - Robots Anthropomorphism - Design Meets Ethics and Law (Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Israel)

Eyal Fried - The Curious Case of Artificial Curiosity: How Designing Curiosity-Driven Environments will Expedite Human-AI Evolution (and make life more fun in the process...) (Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Israel)

Barak Pelman and Lior Skoury - Can Robots Change the Way Architects Work? (Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Israel)


Coffee break 


Keynote: Ken Goldberg (University of California, Berkeley)​

Participation is free of charge, but pre-registration is necessary.​

For further information and early registration, please contact Ruth Yurovski at ruthyuro@post.bgu.ac.il