Thoughtworks Arts


Adrianne Wortzel and Catie Cuan Awarded Robotics Residency

Posted by the Thoughtworks Arts Team
Thursday, 26 April 2018

We are pleased to announce that the Mechanical & Movement: Robotics residency has been jointly awarded to two artists, Adrianne Wortzel and Catie Cuan.

Adrianne Wortzel and Catie Cuan

The Thoughtworks Arts team made their final decisions on April 16th in collaboration with input from jurors at Baltan Labs in Eindhoven, Netherlands and the Consortium For Research and Robotics hosted by Pratt Institute at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Adrianne Wortzel

Artist Adrianne Wortzel creates unique and innovative interactive web-based works, robotic and telerobotic installations, performance productions, videos, and writings. In her past work, Adrianne has created robots with autonomous personalities that are simultaneously programmed for interaction with humans, online or in physical space. She examines aspects of how humans relate to machines through fictive and dramatic scenarios, stories, and scripts.

Small black robots lined in a military-style formation
‘Battle of the Pyramids’ by Adrianne Wortzel

Through her residency at Thoughtworks Arts, Adrianne will be initiating a project to develop a social and psychotherapeutic tool for nonverbal expression through gesture. This tool can be viewed as an emotional prosthetic for those having difficulty expressing highly personal feelings, where that inability of emotional expression is not productive.

Adrianne’s works have received support from The Franklin Furnace Award for Performance, the Greenwall Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts. She is a recipient of six PSC-CUNY Research Foundation Grants and a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Award. In 2005, Franklin Furnace added her name to their list of “Visionaries” in a group including Laurie Anderson, Eric Bogosian, Jenny Holzer, Yoko Ono, and Ed Ruscha.

Catie Cuan

Catie Cuan is a performer, choreographer, and technologist. Her robotics work, through a project entitled Time to Compile, is dedicated to the idea that choreography can inform the design of robots to make them more effective and expressive, especially for personal spaces like homes and hospitals. Catie approaches this thesis in three ways: through a performance piece, through academic research, and through commercialization of an expressive robot.

A woman dances with teo humaonoid robots, one small and one large, in a red lit room
Catie Cuan performing with robotic collaborators

Time to Compile has been created in collaboration with Amy LaViers, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois, and Director of the Robotics, Automation, and Dance (RAD) Lab. The work was shown at Connecticut College in February 2018, at Brown University in March 2018, and has upcoming showings at Georgia Tech in April 2018, and CODAME San Francisco in June 2018.

Catie will use her Thoughtworks residency to finalize the performance piece and simultaneous research for Time To Compile, creating video content of additional dances with robots, and synthesizing her research into a long-form essay.

Dual Residency

The residency was awarded to these two artists respectively, because of their unique and complementary views on important issues. Their practices provide different critical approaches to issues of the mechanical and movement, as it pertains to robotics and human-computer interaction.

The residencies begin simultaneously in early June, and we look forward to welcoming Catie and Adrianne into Thoughtworks.

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