disarming is a performative exploration of the relation between detached robot arms, artificial environments, and human observers. A learning and unlearning of locomotions in postanthropocentric environments and times. The work playfully explores the ambiguity of disarming as a process of physical detachment and emotional attachment.

Locomotion can be seen as a primal (post-birth) instinct and ultimate act of independence. A robotic limb, somehow detached from a human-constructed technological body, tries to find concepts for advancing movements even though it initially wasn’t made for locomotion – vulnerable yet determined. Parallel to a familiar dystopian plot of technological autonomy and the feelings going with it, witnessing these first clumsy tries may awaken compassion or even a certain emotional bond.

disarming paints a picture of a multi-layered narrative of technology as a convoluted species and potential valuable mediator in a multi-species world. An ecological system of intertwined digital and physical realms with parallel learning/unlearning on different levels. A relational world with and between independence and still connectedness.

disarming fuses physical acting with digital observation and vice versa. The exploration in the physical realm was mirrored by an online sibling, allowing viewers not in attendance to experience the art.

𝙙𝙞𝙨𝗮𝗿𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 prelim(b)inary learning-unlearning (still)
𝙙𝙞𝙨𝗮𝗿𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 01. 1:43 min, 4K, 2022 robotic motions in a cultivated field
𝙙𝙞𝙨𝗮𝗿𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 02. 1:16 min, 4K, 2022 robotic motions with learning/unlearning of locomotions in a fallow field
𝙙𝙞𝙨𝗮𝗿𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 03. Durational Robotic Performance, 4 x 4 x 2 m, 2022 learning/unlearning of locomotions in an artificial fallow cornfield in the courtyard of BC Gallery Basel

Core Team

Emanuel Gollob – research, concept & production

Magdalena May – camera & text

Advice and support

Silvia, Johann & Friederike Gollob – farming & fieldwork support

Amir Bastan – real-time robot control

Creative Robotics – robotic hardware support

Ben May – exhibition production at BC Gallery Basel

Hardware | KUKA industrial robot arm | Mini PC | fallow cornfield

Software | Reinforcement Learning | vvvv gamma | bunraku.xyz | Robot Sensor Interface 

Acknowledgments | Supported by BC Gallery Basel