Robotic devices are leaving their industrial habitats and entering natural or constructed environments. How do we create and interact with and within the spaces shared by these new materialities and hidden agencies? What are the intermediate scenarios between the utopian and the dystopian visions of our coexistence? Might these interactions occur on an architectural scale (as in Price’s Fun Palace) or a molecular one (as in Lem’s The Invincible)?

This year's interdisciplinary module theme is “Twilight”. Twilight is literally a half-light, but it can describe a moment transition or a state of decline. Caught in the twilight, we can not know if we are waxing or waning, coming or going. Yet, we can celebrate and investigate this moment of flux, oscillating in between apprehension and elation, big and small, local and remote. As an interface between digital and physical, remotely controlled robotic arms are our engines of inquiry for these spaces in future scenarios of materiality, perception, creativity and living.      

This module combines both theoretical and practical inputs in an interweaving format. The course will consist of lectures by tutors and guest speakers, text studies and discussions in order to build a critical and creative approach towards HRI (human-robot interaction) and the state-of-the-art robotics within a spatial context. Those conceptual explorations will be complemented with remote experiments with a simple robotic platform installed within chosen contextualized dioramas at the ZHdK campus. Critical and creative approaches combined in this course allows students to develop concepts about robotics understood as “more of a bridge, than a destination” (Lord David Puttnam) to a broader understanding of our relationships with technology and the physical world. 

In interdisciplinary teams, students will design and realize scenographies that unfold particular visions by combining panorama images, objects and animated robotic arms. These temporary, interactive dioramas unveiling their intention through time will be documented in a short video format.