I have been teaching on and off since 2004 in topics ranging from art history, art practice, art theory, and aesthetics to mathematics, physics, natural sciences methods, and robotics.
On this page are some photos from and descriptions of select workshops I have led and courses I have taught.
Enacting and Encountering Soft Robots, ICRA 2018
Organizer / instructor
- Workshop conducted at the “Robot Art” Forum at ICRA 2018, Brisbane, Australia, May 24, 2018.
In this workshop participants will explore the affordances of softness in a robot through collective practice-based inquiry and reflection on practice.
The workshop introduces basic soft robotic components and their fabrication including different types of silicone-based pneumatic actuators and discusses their possible uses as parts of robot morphologies. We will be using syringes as manual pumps for actuation but also control electrical pumps and solenoid valves with an Arduino microcontroller to generate more complex movement and make our soft robots respond interactively to sensor readings.
The workshop is set up as a collective hands-on experimental knowledge production which centers on the basic epistemological question of how to grasp and think about softness in a robot. We will reflect on soft robots as relational and processual objects and draw on technical as well as cultural and artistic interpretations of softness as a concept and phenomenon. With the ambition of cultivating an ecology of practices that spans the natural and technical sciences as well as speculative and experiential philosophical and artistic perspectives, the workshop explores not what softness is, but what softness can do.
Workshop description in the program
Soft Robotics workshop, Pixelache Festival
Organizer / instructor together with Frank Veenstra
- Workshop at Pixelache festival for electronic art and subcultures. Sept. 2016
Soft robotics is a growing field of research wherein soft and compliant materials replace some or all of the traditional rigid parts conventionally used in robotics. The soft parts can engender properties such as elasticity, full body actuation and delicate object handling which can be beneficial for many different applications. Soft structures can also give robots a more biological appearance and are generally safer in robot human interactions. Materials such as silicone rubbers, for instance, allow movements to become more fluid and “naturally” expressive. A soft surface is also reminiscent of human and animal skin, which some researchers have claimed allows for a higher degree of identification with and feelings of empathy toward robots.
Soft robotics has become a field of enquiry for possible applications within areas as diverse as eldercare, prostheses, surgery, rescue operations, and wearable technology. More recently, soft robotics has also been gaining attention from architects, designers and artists. Certain challenges and difficulties, however, emanate when considering the manufacturing processes as well as the rapid prototyping solutions that can be used to produce soft morphologies.
In this workshop participants will get a broad introduction to the field of soft robotics. Through hands on practice-based inquiry participants will become acquainted with a number of selected methods for a simple production and control of soft morphologies.
The first day of the workshop will focus on the production of basic soft robotic parts and morphologies. An introduction will be given to different types of soft actuators and their usages as part of robot morphologies (PneuNets, tentacles, grippers etc.). A workflow is introduced wherein 3d computer modeling leads to 3d printed molds which are then used with a lost wax casting procedure to yield robot parts in EcoFlex silicone.
The second day focuses on the final assembly of the soft robots and different ways of controlling them with pneumatics. We will be using syringes as basic pumps and experiment with using an Arduino microcontroller to control electrical pumps and valves to generate more complex movement patterns (e.g. gait) and to have the robots respond interactively to sensor readings.
Workshop description in the program
Artificial Life & Evolutionary Robotics: Theory, Methods and Art (Spring, 2016), IT University of Copenhagen
- MSc level course (taught lab part together with Alberto Alvarez and supervised final projects) (28 students enrolled)
The primary goal of the course is to allow the students to understand the foundation and philosophical basis of artificial life, its methods, and their practical use in games, robotics, and art.
This interdisciplinary course is open across study-lines and disciplines.
The course will partially cover the following list of topics:
– Philosophical perspectives on the nature of life and the possibility of artificial life
– Soft artificial life (Cellular automata, Artificial Evolution, Neutral Networks, Neuroevolution, NEAT / HyperNEAT, Generative and Developmental Systems, CPPNs, HyperNEAT, L-Systems)
– Hard artificial life (Artificial life robots, Evolutionary robotics, the reality gap, Co-evolution bodies and brains)
– Collective Intelligence (Swarm robotics, Evolution of communication, Cellular robot systems, Self-organizing and self-reproducing systems
– Wet artificial life (Artificial chemical life)
– The use of artificial life in design and art
Digital Experience and Aesthetics (Fall, 2015), IT University of Copenhagen
- Bachelor level course on “Digital Experience and Aesthetics” (taught with assoc. prof. Susana Tosca Pajares) (82 students enrolled)
Students enrolled in this course will learn about digital aesthetics through their own creative practice. That is, they will be asked to analyse existing digital art and experiences, and to design their own, in order to reach an understanding of the basic aesthetic concepts related to digital media.
Our pedagogic approach will be based in poiesis, understood as crafting and making. Students will actively use digital technologies to produce different kinds of aesthetic experiences. Through making, designing and reflecting, they will attain their own understanding of the basic problems and concepts, that will then be complemented with readings of research literature that will help them contextualize and theorize about the said knowledge.
What is an aesthetic approach and how is it useful to understand digital media? How do we create digital experiences? This course will, on a basic level, enable you to analyse and understand aesthetic parameters in digital products, installations and expressions. We will investigate how form and appearance influence the experience and what aesthetic means are available in the design of digital products and situations.
Different aesthetic strategies in a wide array of digital media are treated and analysed, such as web-based art, mobile apps, installation arts and other spatial forms of expression, theatrical and participatory events, telematic operations and online/offline integrated social sites, intermedial art, and digital products conceived for storytelling or entertainment such as computer games.
Theoretically the course will build an inter-disciplinary context of analytic positions, and closely correlate critical analysis and creative practice. We will investigate contexts of artistic exploration and design strategies specific to the digital media, as well as discuss the mutual impact of technological innovation and artistic exploration.
High school level workshops and courses
I have taught 16 high school classes in fine arts practice, physics, and introductory natural sciences. I completed the Danish one year high school teaching degree ‘Pædagogikum’ in May 2013 and have subsequently taken teaching courses in: class room management (instructors: Link Kommunikation, June 2013), innovation in teaching (instructor: Hanne Heimbürger, January 2014).
The art of chance, or: Drawing with homebuilt robots
Link to Danish text about the project: “Drømmer androider om elektriske malerier?: Om at bruge robotter i billedkunstundervisningen”, in: Tegn. Tidsskrift for kunst og design, nr. 2., 2014.
When art becomes political
Beer brewing and natural sciences method