Thoughtworks Arts


h0t club Presents at CounterPulse

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Thoughtworks Arts Improvising the Net(Work) residents h0t club, featuring Miller Puckette (author of PureData), Kate Bergstrom, and Martim S. Galvão debuted their experimental multimedia performance at Counterpulse’s Homecoming Gala on May 7th, in San Francisco.

A sample of the live performance is an experimental multimedia performance that explores how our desire for connection and delicious treats entangles us with networks of information technologies.

During the world premiere of three human performers and three telepresence robots (appearing as orange traffic cones) communicate through sensors and cameras placed throughout CounterPulse’s theater.

Three performers wearing orange jumpsuits dancing in blue light
Humans and robots perform ice cream dance

These interactions lead to a distributed decision-making process, triggering videos and seemingly fun events during the performance. The emergent events, which explored techniques of embedded surveillance were defined by a changing set of system-wide modes. Each mode introduced new interactive logics between performers, robots, and participants highlighting the seductive way individuals are enticed to give up autonomy and control in mediated networks.

The performance revolves around consumer/audience driven enthusiasm for “free ice cream” (and other seemingly “free” products and services). Audiences engage with the interactive hybrid network that underpins the performance and receive a gift of a real “free” ice cream sandwich as a reward for their participation.

A flyer montage with grinning faces, ice creams and a cartoon tongue licking an ice cream, overlaid with a computer mouse icon and on-screen windows, with the word SALE in all capital letters
Flyer image for the premiere

Plans for upcoming iterations of will invite participants to take the place of the performer, exploring the space and human-computer interactions firsthand.

To learn more about and h0t club’s residency at Thoughtworks Arts and CounterPulse, read our project write-up.

Thoughtworks Arts Wants To Send You To Mars

— that is

In the new post-lockdown era, what are we on the brink of? Ecological, democratic and social anxieties demand we remake our futures. Do viable alternatives exist to allow us to cohabit the planet with reimagined technologies, renewable resources, rewired communities and low impact lifestyles? What can be accomplished if it all falls apart? What new horizons can inspire and prepare us?

A large mountain range view overlaid with logos for Thoughtworks Arts and Mars College

Thoughtworks Arts seeks two artists-in-residence for separate but parallel residencies on-site at, an educational program, R&D Lab and off-grid residential community in the desert area of Bombay Beach, California. Mars is geographically remote but digitally connected, cultivating a low-cost, high-tech lifestyle exploring emerging technologies.

Application deadline: September 12, 2022

To apply and learn more about this residency, read the Mars.College open-call.

Hardware Hack Lab Reopens with Unwired Dance Special Performance

The New York chapter of Hardware Hack Lab returned on Tuesday, June 14th for a special co-hacking session and performance from London based Clémence Debaig of Unwired Dance.

A sample of the live performance

The Unwired Dance Theatre makes immersive and playable experiences for remote and in-person audiences, virtual stages, galleries and unconventional sites.

Using networked wearables in XR, Clémence and collaborators work at the intersection of dance and technology. They question our sense of empathy, connection and remoteness, particularly when mediated through technology.

In the coming months, other special in-person lab events will be planned, setting the stage for a return to regular hack lab events in the future. Follow Hardware Hack Lab for updates.

Our artist and Thoughtworker collaborations are featured in Thoughtworks Social Impact Report, highlighting how Thoughtworks Arts’ residency projects drive critical questions on tech’s impact on society.

A simple graphic cover image with Social Impact Report written on it

It is essential to facilitate dialog across society’s sectors, and to enable provocative, far-reaching research into emerging technologies. - Thoughtworks The report also shares how Thoughtworks is promoting responsible tech and innovation - highlighting how this past year has forced us to reckon with the challenges we face as a society and the urgent need for change.


Ellen Pearlman was the keynote speaker at the 13th International Conference on Computational Creativity - ICCC, on June 30th. She presented “Biometrics, AI, Embodiment, Performative Practices & The Speculative Future”. This event took place at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, in the city centre of Bolzano. Ellen participated in a panel at Horasis, on Art and Cultural Diplomacy, on March 4th, 2022. Horasis’ mission is to enact visions for a sustainable future and includes thought leaders from around the globe.

News from Past Thoughtworks Arts Residents

Catie Cuan is working with Everyday Robots to map individual joint velocities onto musical tracks played through robots. As a result, the robot makes music as it moves. The aim of this experimental project is to help make general purpose robots more legible and relatable.

Catie Cuan teaching robots movement and music at Everyday Robots

On July 6th Catie performed at Smithsonian Arts and Industry Building. This choreorobotics dance was part of the Futures closing; it was the first robot dance performance in Smithsonian history and the culmination of her June Futurist-in-Residence. On March 25th Catie traveled to Washington, D.C. to see a statue of herself at SmithsonianAIB, for the exhibit, If Then She Can, STEM. This monumental exhibit of 120 3-D printed statues celebrates contemporary women innovators in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and features the most statues of real women ever assembled together.

Andy Slater and Olivia Ting’s Crip Tech Incubator residency with Leonardo/ISAST and Thoughtworks Arts received a feature in Inside Philanthropy. The article, Six Trends in Arts and Culture for Funders to Watch lists the incubator as #2: Technology is becoming integral to the future of the arts.

Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s biopolitical hyper-realistic 3D-printed masks are currently on view at SFMOMA San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and featured in Forbes. Read about Heather’s DNA portrait sculptures and how they challenge the justice system.

Moon Ribas and Neil Harbisson were Futurists-in-Residence at the Smithsonian Arts + Industries Building in March. Moon further developed The Pregnancy Sense, a cyborg organ that allows her partner Quim to listen in real-time to the fluids of the baby’s amniotic sac and heartbeat through bone-conducted headphones. During their residency, Neil and Moon invited visitors to explore various artificial senses and encouraged discussion on what a post-human future would look like.

Updates from Art-A-Hack™ Alumni

Kate Sicchio’s paper, Towards A Framework For Dancing Beyond Demonstration, was published by ACM Digital Library. The paper is about human/robot performance, and presents a prototype framework for developing real-time human-robot performances and applications.

Sadah (Espii) Proctor is starting a new position as Projections Instructor, at Apollo Theater Academy.

Heidi Boisvert gave a virtual talk for BioArt Talks at CBIS, on April 1st, 2022, at her alma mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Biotechnology, the ARTS department & the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, and The Sanctuary for Independent Media’s NATURE Lab. She detailed her current research methods and emerging insights from the Limbic Lab, and discussed how these findings have informed her works in bio-adaptive, networked dance and mixed reality theatre performances.

Eva Lee presented at The Wellbeing Summit For Social Change in Bilbao, Spain, June 1 – June 3. Eve spoke at Hearing a Who: Dr. Seuss, the Nature of Mind, and Intelligent Technology on February 16th at the Through A Different Lens: Innovation Lab Lecture Series, Fairfield University College of Arts and Sciences Innovation Lab in partnership with Quick Center for the Arts. Eva recently received an Official Selection from Cannes Short Film Festival 2021 and NewFilmmakers NY Festival 2021 for her short animated film, Sojourner.


Ellen Pearlman: Is There a Place Where Human Consciousness Cannot Go? - HumaniTies and Artificial Intelligence, European Commission, NoemaLab. “DANCEDEMIC” in a Pandemic: A New Networked Reality - Journal of Network Music and Arts, Stony Brook University. AI Comes of Age - Performance Arts Journal (PAJ), MIT Press, Dance for Transformation: “DANCEDEMIC” AlumniTies, Medium. Cyborg Arts Co-Lab: Interdisciplinary Collaboration Enriched Through Art-A-Hack™ Practices -Art Hack Practice: Critical Intersections of Art, Innovation and the Maker Movement, 1st Edition, Edited by Victoria Bradbury and Suzy O’Hara, Routledge Publication. The Resurgence of Russian Cosmism - Performance Arts Journal(PAJ), MIT Press.

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