Art, Tech & Culture

Non-Human Art

Art, Tech & Culture
21 Oct, 2019

Non-Human Art

An Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium, co-sponsored by the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, CITRIS People and Robots (CPAR), and FLAD — the Luso-American Development Foundation, presented with Berkeley Arts + Design as part of Arts + Design Mondays​.

Can a machine create its own art? This question, raised around the year 2000 by Leonel Moura, is at the core of his work with robotics and artificial intelligence. With the development of artificial intelligence of recent years, the possibility for machines to be intelligent but also creative is at the center of a debate on the future of humanity. Will machines take over? Or, is there an exaggeration over their capacities?

Based on a new kind of algorithm inspired in ant behavior, Moura has over the years built several artbots able to generate unique drawings and paintings. One of these machines, named RAP (Robotic Action Painter), is displayed at the American Museum of Natural History. RAP creates drawings, decides when they are finished, and signs with its name. The
process demonstrates that based on simple rules and concepts such as feedback, emergence and stigmergy machines can create something that is not predetermined and can be considered art works in the contemporary cultural context.

Moura resorts to science but doesn’t claim to be a scientist. His work is inscribed in the history of art and its constant surpass of boundaries.

About Leonel Moura

Leonel Moura is a European artist born in Lisbon, Portugal, who works with AI and robotics. In 2001 he created the first robot arm able to generate unique paintings operate by an ‘ant algorithm’. In 2003 a swarm of ‘Painting Robots’ were able to produce artworks based on simple rules and emergent behaviour. Since then, he has produced several artbots, each more autonomous and sophisticated. RAP (Robotic Action Painter) was created for a permanent exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and Bebot for the Expo Astana, Kazakhstan, Grand Palais, Paris and Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon. ISU (The Poet Robot), generates poems and paintings with letters and words. In 2004 he launched the Symbiotic Art Manifest stating that “machines can make art” ( In 2007 the Robotarium, the first zoo dedicated to robots and artificial life, opened in Alverca. Other works include 3D sculptures, interactive installations, generative art, augmented reality, space art and the play R.U.R. from Karel Capek, with 3 robots performing aside 3 human actors, which premiered in São Paulo in 2010. He has published or participated in several books, such as Robots and Art (Springer); Nonhuman Art (LXXL); Hiperdesign (IADE); Robot Art (Obidos Patrimonium); Man+robots: symbiotic art (Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne). In 2009 he was appointed European Ambassador for Creativity and Innovation.

About the Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium

Founded by Prof. Ken Goldberg in 1997, the ATC lecture series is an internationally respected forum for creative ideas. Always free of charge and open to the public, the series is coordinated by the Berkeley Center for New Media and has presented over 200 leading artists, writers, and critical thinkers who question assumptions and push boundaries at the forefront of art, technology, and culture including: Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, Sophie Calle, Bruno Latour, Maya Lin, Doug Aitken, Pierre Huyghe, Miranda July, Billy Kluver, David Byrne, Gary Hill, and Charles Ray.

Fall 2019 - Spring 2020 Series Theme: Robo-Exoticism

Monday Evenings, 6:30-8:00pm
Osher Theater, BAMPFA, Berkeley, CA

Presented with Berkeley Arts + Design as part of Arts + Design Mondays.


09/09 Robots Are Creatures, Not Things
Madeline Gannon, Artist / Roboticist, Pittsburgh, PA
Co-sponsored by the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation and CITRIS People and Robots (CPAR)

09/23 The Copper in my Cooch and Other Technologies
Marisa Morán Jahn, Artist, Cambridge, MA and New York, NY
Co-sponsored by the Wiesenfeld Visiting Artist Lecture Series and the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation

10/21 Non-Human Art
Leonel Moura, Artist, Lisbon
Co-sponsored by the Department of Spanish & Portuguese and CITRIS People and Robots (CPAR)

11/4 Transience, Replication, and the Paradox of Social Robotics
Guy Hoffman, Robotics Researcher, Cornell University
Co-sponsored by the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies and CITRIS People and Robots (CPAR)


01/27 Dancing with Robots: Expressivity in Natural and Artificial Systems
Amy LaViers, Robotics, Automation, and Dance (RAD) Lab
Co-sponsored by the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies and CITRIS People and Robots (CPAR)

02/24 In Search for My Robot: Emergent Media, Racialized Gender, and Creativity
Margaret Rhee, Assistant Professor, SUNY Buffalo; Visiting Scholar, NYU
Co-sponsored by the Department of Ethnic Studies and the Department of Comparative Literature

03/30 The Right to Be Creative
Margarita Kuleva, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow
Invisible Russia: Participatory Cultures, Their Practices and Values
Natalia Samutina, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow
Co-sponsored by the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature and Department of the History of Art and the Arts Research Center

04/06 Artist Talk
William Pope.L, Artist
Presented by the Department of Art Practice

04/13 Teaching Machines to Draw
Tom White, New Zealand
Co-sponsored by Autolab and CITRIS People and Robots (CPAR)

For updated information, maps, please see:

Contact: info.bcnm [​at​], 510-495-3505

ATC Director: Ken Goldberg
BCNM Director: Abigail De Kosnik
Arts + Design Director: Shannon Jackson
BCNM Liaisons: Lara Wolfe, Laurie Macfee

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