The Art of Bots / Showcase

Bots (tiny computer programmes) are everywhere; they allusively infiltrate our online lives.

They come in a variety of guises, from social bots, surveillance bots, to joke bots and news bots. They exhibit a range of human traits including dating and running propaganda campaigns and although largely invisible, they are critical to the inner workings of the internet.

One of the unique characteristics of bots is that they are semi-autonomous: they demonstrate behaviour that is partially the intentions of the programmer (who created the bot) and partially a function of the machine itself. It is this dynamic, the capacity for automation and spontaneity, that The Art of Bots Showcase exploits. At what point does a bot begin to lead a life of its own? Have bots enslaved us or are they revolutionising the way we create, consume and think?

This showcase invited bot pioneers – artists, developers, gamers, thinkers and inventors – to draw on histories in automata and movements such as Dada and Fluxus. They highlighted the perceived connections between bots and everyday objects, drawing on instructions, accidents and anonymity to agitate, displace and question audiences.

During the showcase new bot projects were presented and developed by the pioneers of this global micro-community. These projects presented bots in tangible forms, from having a face and delivering an art class, to ritualistic installations and poetry performances, magic and generative cooking recipes. The showcase was an interactive space for people to discover the creative potential of bots and the active role these small computer programmes play in our lives.

Featuring contributions from Darius Kazemi (USA), Jeff Thompson (USA), Katie Rose Pipkin (USA), Allison Parrish (USA), Shardcore (UK), Julien Deswaef  (USA), Matt Webb (UK), Chris Rodley (AUS), Sam Lavigne (USA), Thricedotted (USA) Emma Winston (UK) and Daniel Armengol Altayó (ES).

The showcase programme is co-curated with London based British-Colombian artist and bot enthusiast Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, known for 3D printed sculpture, bots and the popular blog Algopop

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