• MIT alumna Pia Lindman performs with the robot Domo at the Luxe Gallery in New York City. Her solo show, 'Pia Lindman: Embodiments,' opens at the MIT Museum's Compton Gallery on April 18.

    Photo / Johanna Torkkola

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Artist explores human-robot interaction


Alumna Pia Lindman, who has received acclaim for her performance and video artwork exploring human gesture, has a new solo show in the MIT Museum's Compton Gallery: She will become a human imitating machines that imitate human gestures.

"Pia Lindman: Embodiments," opens on Tuesday, April 18, with a reception in the gallery from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The exhibit includes drawings, videos and video documentation of her recent studies of humans interacting with robots.

Lindman will perform "The MIT Project," a series of embodiments of the interactions between human beings and robots built at the Humanoid Robotics Group at Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), at approximately 6 p.m. on April 18. The MIT piece was conceived during her 2005-2006 fellowship at MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS). She is artist-in-residence at CSAIL.

Lindman's work highlights the intricate possibilities of human expression through gesture. It also probes the gulf between humans and machines while witnessing what happens when the two merge.

When she began working at CSAIL last summer, Lindman observed that there is always "something emotional in the relationship" between a researcher and his or her subject -- even if that subject is a robot.

Lindman's plans include further exploration of the border between the human and non-human: She hopes to work with biomechatronics, where mechanical limbs provide biological sensory input to the human body to which they are connected. She is also interested in primates.

Lindman earned her master of science in visual studies from MIT in 1999 as a Fulbright Scholar and served last year as a lecturer in the Visual Arts Program.

"Pia Lindman: Embodiments" is on view in the MIT Museum's Compton Gallery through June 30. Admission is free. For more information, call x3-4444.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 12, 2006 (download PDF).


Topics: Artificial intelligence, Technology and society, Arts

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