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Will tomorrow’s wars be dominated by autonomous drones, land robots and warriors wired into a cybernetic network which can read their thoughts? Will war be fought with greater or lesser humanity? Will it be played out in cyberspace and further afield in Low Earth Orbit? Or will it be fought more intensely still in the sprawling cities of the developing world, the grim black holes of social exclusion on our increasingly unequal planet? Will the Great Powers reinvent conflict between themselves or is war destined to become much ‘smaller’ both in terms of its actors and the beliefs for which they will be willing to kill?

Moritz Simon Geist is a classical musician and a robotics engineer who builds his own musical instruments. The most famous of them is the MR-808, an oversized replica of the TR-808 produced by Roland to reproduce drum sounds. This 1980s electronic drum machine imitated the drum so inadequately that it actually created its own sound. The distinctive ‘thump thump’ became an integral part of hip hop music, gained iconic status with Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing and reached such a cult position within the music industry that even Kayne West paid tribute to the machine in one of his hit albums

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In a unique take on a subject that has grabbed headlines and is consuming billions of taxpayer dollars each year, philosopher Grégoire Chamayou applies the lens of philosophy to our understanding of how drones are changing our world. For the first time in history, a state has claimed the right to wage war across a mobile battlefield that potentially spans the globe. Remote-control flying weapons, he argues, take us well beyond even George W. Bush’s justification for the war on terror

DRONE.2000 is a performance where autonomous objects moved by simple algorithms are patrolling over the audience. Their latent and dysfunctional presence is a concrete threat. Drone.2000 takes us into a dystopian situation, thus illustrating the military origins of these entertaining objects. Here, trusting the autonomy of the machine is not only a discursive concept but a true experience shared with the audience

The Terminator Studies proposes a reinterpretation of the science-fiction series “Terminator,” whose narrative reveals itself as a veritable almanac, prophetic in nature. In analysing the links between history and fiction, “Terminator Studies” poses a critical eye on the domination of machines and the intrusion of surveillance systems in private life

Ivan Henriques collaborated with scientists from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam to develop the prototype of an autonomous bio-machine which harvests energy from photosynthetic organisms commonly found in ponds, canals, rivers and the sea

The Symbiotic Machine uses the energy collected from micro organisms to move around in search for more photosynthetic organisms which it then collects and processes again

Under the Shadow of the Drone is a life-size depiction of a Reaper drone, one of a number of such weapons in service with US and UK forces. The Reaper is used for surveillance and bombing missions, in the declared war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and in the illegal wars of assassination taking place in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. Such wars are made possible by the invisibility of drones to most people

The exhibition page of The Bruce Lacey Experience show at Camden Arts Center filled me with embarrassment. There i was visiting a show dedicated to “one of Britain’s great visionary artists.” Lacey has been making art for approx 65 years, he participated to Cybernetic Serendipity (the now legendary exhibition of computer art which opened at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London in 1968), worked with Peter Sellers, he had a show with The Alberts called ‘An Evening of British Rubbish’, etc. Yet, i couldn’t remember having heard of him before

The Creator takes you into the surreal dream world of the visionary scientist Alan Turing, the father of the computer age and seed of Thinking Machines. Through Turing’s dream diaries, the Thinking Machines from the future embark on a quest to discover their origins and destiny of the universe

Robots and Avatars invites visitors to imagine a future -not so distant from now- when the advance of technology will bring us in even closer contact with artificial intelligence and machines and force us to re-assess what we now define as ‘life.’ How do we envisage our future relationships with robotic and avatar colleagues and playmates, and what point does this evolution cross our personal boundaries of what it is to be a living, feeling human being?

The Kinetica Art Fair brings together independent galleries, art organisations and curatorial groups who focus on kinetic, electronic, robotic, sound, light, time-based and multi-disciplinary new media art, science and technology. The art fair features installations, robots and small sculptures but also live performances, artists presentations, demos and a cheerful atmosphere that makes it easy to talk to the ‘exhibitors’

Jurema Action Plant is a machine which interfaces a sensitive plant (Mimosa Pudica). Its aim is to empower plants by enabling them to use similar technologies as humans use. It is also explores new ways of communication and co-relation between humans, living organism and a machine. Plants don’t have nerves, wires or cables but much like humans, animals and machines, they have an electrical signal traveling inside their cells

Granjon has a solo show at the Oriel Davies gallery, in Newtown, Wales, where he is presenting Oriel Factory, ‘a radical new take on production lines.’ He gathered old computers, CD / DVD players, printers, toys, radios and other discarded machines and gave them as raw material to volunteers – the ‘Oriel Factory workers’. Together, they broke apart the ‘dead tech’ and, with the help of advanced home-manufacturing technology, re-composed and re-purposed them as robots and other artefacts for the gallery

Artist Rodrigo Derteano’s autonomous robot plows the desert ground to uncover its underlying color, using a technique similar to the one of the Nazca lines, the ancient geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. Guided by its sensors, the robot quietly traced the founding lines of a new city that looks like a collage of existing cities from Latin America

Shaped like flying saucers, the Nanodrizas are floating autonomous robots which measure, in real time, the environmental conditions of polluted water surfaces. The data collected is then transmitted for interpretation and analysis. Once the level and nature of pollution has been identified, the nanodrizas directly intervene by emitting synthesized sound and releasing bacterial and enzymatic remedies in the eco-system that, ultimately, should regulate the quality of the water

A couple of years ago, Nils Völker built a robot out of Lego parts that replicates the way we look. The resulting large scale images demonstrate how differently the same objects have been perceived. The robot was the one work that attracted me to Nils Völker’s portfolio but it’s his creative path that started with communication design and moved to the use of physical computing in contexts as different as advertising and art exhibitions that kept my attention

What should a robot smell like? Kevin Grennan has augmented three existing industrial robots with ‘sweat glands’. Each uses a specific property of human sub-conscious behaviour in response to a chemical stimulus. The contrast between the physical anti-anthropomorphic nature of the machines and the olfactory anthropomorphism highlights the absurd nature of the trickery at play in all anthropomorphism

GAMERZ festival runs until the 19th December and spreads in various cultural centers all over the city. The focus of the festival is gaming of course but the installations, performances, talks and videos by 85 French and international artists also reach out to other areas where contemporary art and new technologies interact. Not strictly and solely game thus but there’s always an element of entertainment. Which doesn’t prevent some of the works to come with a critical agenda as well