Virtual body politics

- A critical study of robots, chatbots and avatars.

Led by Sidsel Meineche Hansen, 2020/ 2021 .

In this semester’s Visiting Artist’s Studio, will be discussing the use of humanoid 3D models within gaming, the pornographic and tech-industries and contemporary art. We will analyse the design of programmable bodies such as avatars, chatbots and robots, in order for you to get a contextual understanding of digital bodies and the industries where these bodies are put to work. In our seminars, we will be exploring the following questions: What is a sex robot? Do machines have a reproductive system? What is Artificial Intelligence? How is technology raced and gendered? Why are some machines made to look human? What is Afrofuturism? What is automation? What is personal data? What is ‘Surveillance Capitalism’? The Czech word ’Robota’ means ‘slavery' or ‘forced labour’. Through the work of scholar Louis Chude-Sokei we will understand the historic parallels of automata, robotics, and chattel slavery. We will also examine the legal framework of the end-user licence agreement, to see how colonialism and surveillance is incorporated into software products. We will also be discussing the difference in ideology between post-humanism and Trans-humanism.

This course is aimed at students who have an interest in technology and critical thinking. The aim of this workshop is to strengthen your ability to analyse contemporary art and digital culture, based on intersectional feminism, psychoanalytical methods as well as cultural studies, anti-capitalist, queer and post-colonial discourse. Discussions in these seminars are based on your reflections on the material that we watch and read together.

About Visiting Artist’s Studio:

The Faculty of Fine Arts of Brno University of Technology (FFA) started its Visiting Artist’s Studio in the winter semester of 2019. Each semester the FFA will invite an acknowledged artist(s) from abroad to work with its students. The artistic profiles of the guests will differ from each other to make the FFA art & design studies offer as broad as possible. Students of the bachelor, master and PhD programmes can enrol.