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ATC Lecture — Leonel Moura, “Non-Human Art”

Non-Human Art with Leonel Moura

Free and Open to the Public

Presented by Berkeley Center for New Media and Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium, co-sponsored by the Department of Spanish & Portuguese and CITRIS People and Robots (CPAR), in collaboration with the Berkeley Arts and Design initiative as part of A+D Mondays @ BAMPFA.

Can a machine create its own art? This question, raised around 2000 by Leonel Moura is at the core of his work with robotics and artificial intelligence. With the development of artificial intelligence of recent years, the possibility of machines being intelligent but also creative is at the center of a debate on the future of humanity. Will machines take over? Or, is there an exaggeration over their capacities?

Leonel Moura is a European artist born in Lisbon, Portugal, who works with AI and robotics. In 2001 he created the first robot arm able to generate unique paintings operate by an ‘ant algorithm’. In 2003 a swarm of ‘Painting Robots’ were able to produce artworks based on simple rules and emergent behavior. Since then he has produced several artbots, each time more autonomous and sophisticated. RAP (Robotic Action Painter) was created for a permanent exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and Bebot for the Expo Astana, Kazakhstan, Grand Palais, Paris and Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon. ISU (The Poet Robot), generates poems and paintings with letters and words. In 2004 he launched the Symbiotic Art Manifest stating that “machines can make art” (http://www.leonelmoura.com/symbiotic-art-manifesto/). In 2007 the Robotarium, the first zoo dedicated to robots and artificial life, opened in Alverca. Other works include 3D sculptures, interactive installations, generative art, augmented reality, space art and the play R.U.R. from Karel Capek, with 3 robots performing aside 3 human actors, premiered in São Paulo in 2010.

He has published or participated in several books, such as Robots and Art, Springer; Nonhuman Art, LXXL; Hiperdesign, IADE; Robot Art, Obidos Patrimonium; Man+robots: symbiotic art, Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne. In 2009 he was appointed European Ambassador for Creativity and Innovation.