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      • Robotic Sculpture Development through Appropriated Choreographic Strategies, Facilitating Artistic Exploration of Visual Perception, Object-ness, and Symbiosis between Physical and Virtual Media

Robotic Sculpture Development through Appropriated Choreographic Strategies, Facilitating Artistic Exploration of Visual Perception, Object-ness, and Symbiosis between Physical and Virtual Media

Pinter, Marco Charles
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Media Arts and Technology
Degree Supervisor:
Marko Peljhan
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Engineering, Robotics, Fine Arts, and Dance
Online resources and Dissertations, Academic
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2015

The domain of dance enjoys a centuries-long history of exploring movement through choreography, and many valuable approaches and techniques have been codified within that discipline. Yet there has been no rigorous appropriation of those strategies from the domain of dance to the domain of sculptural practice, despite a rich history of successful appropriations of other kinds within and outside of artistic fields. This dissertation illustrates the appropriation of choreographic techniques from the domain of dance to the domain of kinetic sculpture through the use of robotic technologies and tools. It further explores of the affordances of that approach to the development of hybrid physical/virtual systems and to the exploration of visual perception.

The research draws upon a schema of 16 motif manipulations by Blom & Chaplin, as well as Laban effort actions, and techniques of chance and indeterminacy employed by Merce Cunningham. Software tools are presented which have been developed to enable these appropriations. The first, Gesture Creator, allows gestural input via body sensing and direct manipulation of a sculpture, and subsequent modification of gestures utilizing choreographic strategies. The second, Motif Developer, takes advantage of known compositional forms to enable development of sequences of gestures and motifs. The importance of gravity is discussed, both in terms of its place in choreographic history and its implementation through different forms of mechanical design. The effective use of the tools and methodology is illustrated through examples of robotic sculpture from the author's practice.

Choreographed sculpture work is placed in historical context through a new taxonomy of complexity in kinetic sculpture systems. A review of literature is provided on motor cortex activity produced when observing dance and robotic systems. The review informs a new linear model of sensori-motor brain activation in art, illustrating that the present research enables creation of "bio-kinematic sculpture," a sculptural form facilitating viewer brain activation.

Choreographic manipulation is further shown to enable creation of ecosystems incorporating combinations of sculptural, digital and corporeal elements. These are positioned historically through new taxonomies which classify kinetic sculpture motion within cybernetic systems.

Choreographic manipulation is also shown to enable artistic exploration of visual perception and related philosophical concepts. Precedents in art history, particularly Op Art, are provided, in addition to background in cognitive psychology and philosophy which informs discussion of these cognitive and self-reflective explorations. A classification is presented for visual artwork which exploits low-level visual perception, illustrating where new work would fit into historical precedents, and revealing an uncharted gap in visual art which explores perceptual constructs through choreographed robotic sculpture. Examples are provided from the author's practice, which exploits the phenomenon of object permanence through the cybernetic interaction of physical and virtual media within a shared ecosystem.

The research suggests that a formal system of choreographic development, with supporting tools and methodologies, allows the creative freedom to explore sculptural motion in an unencumbered process of experimentation and observation. The work suggests future research in the areas of: multi-sculptural systems; viewer-as-choreographic-participant; cybernetic dance/robotic systems; and systems of "data kinetification" and "audio kinetification." Through these explorations and avenues for further research, the work contributes to the growth of contemporary visual art practice.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (259 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Marco Pinter
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