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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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  • On August 25, 2006

I thought after a week mainly showing some robotics based projects, I'd post a little about one of my favourite pieces of work by one of my favourite artists, Ken Rinaldo.

interactive architecture
Autopoesis 2000

Ken Rinaldo is an artist and theorist who creates interactive multimedia installations that blur the boundaries between the organic and inorganic. He has been working at the intersection of art and biology for over two decades working in the catagories of interactive robotics, biological art, artificial life, interspecies communication, rapid prototyping and digital imaging. Rinaldo teaches interactive robotic sculpture, digital imaging, multimedia and Directs the Art and Technology program in the Department of Art at The Ohio State University in Columbus Ohio.

interactive architecture

It consists of fifteen robotic sound sculptures that interact with the public and modify their behaviors over time. These behaviors change based on feedback from infrared sensors, the presence of the participant/viewers in the exhibition and the communication between each separate sculpture. This series of robotic sculptures talk with each other through a computer network and audible telephone tones, which are a musical language for the group. Autopoiesis is "self making", a characteristic of all living systems which was defined and refined by Francisco Varella and Humberto Maturana. The interactivity engages the viewer/participant who in turn, effects the system's evolution and emergence. This creates a system evolution as well as an overall group sculptural aesthetic.

interactive architecture

In Autopoiesis the robotic sensors compare their sensor data through a central-state controller, so the viewer is able to walk through the sculptural installation and have the arms interact both individually and as a group. Because each arm has its own on-board computer control, the overall speed of reaction is rapid and therefore, life-like. Local control always supercedes group control when a local sensor is aware of a human nearby. This also allows individual arms to show accuracy and delicacy of approach and avoidance when encountering the viewer/participant. At the tip of two of the arms, lipstick cameras project what they see onto the walls of the space. This gives the viewer/participant a sense of being observed by this artificial life robotic sculpture.

Also see Regine from wmmna's recent interview with Ken Rinaldo

I'll put some more of Kens more recent work up soon 


  1. Hi

    Yeah its a bit like a sort of animated (future) junk yard.

    I think perhaps there may be a practical use (as there sometimes is) for this type of art in the domain of “non lethal weapons” and or “area denial”

    Where can I buy one? It may look good and serve well in my lobby to deter unwanted guests though I may have to consult the district surveyor about demolishing the “party wall” to make room foor it.

    Perhaps I could commission an oil painting of it and hang that on the wall as this may also have similar effect.

    Rinaldo you say eh. Well I think he may have missed his true vocation in the “scrap” market. Sort of a “muck and brass” scenario.

    But seriously folks this guy may single-handedly be sustaining the cosmetics, electronic sensor and CCTV industries business’s.

    I’m sure though Rinaldo maintains an inward sense of integrity in spite of his control freak preoccupations.

    I recommend he sends a copy of his CV/resume to Rayethon

    All da best


  2. One of the stranger comments Ive seen on my site

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