Performing Robots


24 May 2023
10:30 - 12:00
Muntstraat 2A, 3512EV Utrecht (Grote Zaal)

“Sensing Performances: from Balinese Character to Japanese Robots in Artificial Life ” – Chris Salter (Zurich University of the Arts)



UU SPRING Festival Fellow Chris Salter speaks about his work

This talk examines recent work in machine performance linking the disciplines of visual anthropology, cybernetics, Artificial Life and Deep Learning-based artificial intelligence. As recent explorations of “machine vision” in robotics demonstrate, cameras can increasingly be understood as instruments of capture and representation which are no longer simply recorders of images whose meanings are to be unlocked by human interpreters. Instead, in moving from anthropologists and (later cyberneticians) Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead’s ethnographic work in Bali in the 1930s to experiments with an autonomous android in the Japanese lab, the talk explores the question of how the camera as a “sensing machine” (Salter 2022) enact a kind of visual performativity whereby technologically mediated subjects and selves are not recorded but in effect, produced through interactive circuits, instruments and computational technologies?


Chris Salter is Professor for Immersive Arts and Director of the Immersive Arts Space at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). He is also Professor Emeritus, Design and Computation Arts at Concordia University in Montreal and former Co-Director (between 2014-2022) of the Hexagram network for research-creation in arts, cultures and technology in Montreal and Co-Founder of the Milieux Institute at Concordia. He studied philosophy and economics and completed his PhD in theatre studies with research in computer music at Stanford University. His artistic work has been seen all over the world at such venues as the Venice Architecture Biennale, Barbican Centre, Berliner Festspiele, Wiener Festwochen, ZKM, Vitra Design Museum, Kunstfest Weimar, Musée d’art Contemporain, Muffathalle, EXIT Festival and Place des Arts-Montreal, among many others. He is the author of Entangled: Technology and the Transformation of Performance ( 2010), Alien Agency: Experimental Encounters with Art in the Making (2015) and Sensing Machines (2022), all from MIT Press.


**Please RSVP via or online registration.