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forum::für::umläute nicole pruckermayr & IOhannes m zmölnig

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Petra, the robot

nap + forum::für::umläute - 1998

Petra outside

"perception" means "to take, receive", to save, hinting that it is related to information processing rather than mere sensorics. if we investigate the human perception apparatus, we find that sensations are not directly sent to our consciousness, but instead the inputs from all sense organs are linked together in the thalamus in a complex way, before they are sent to the cerebrum.

this allows senses to interact, there is more to seeing than eyes, our nose is involved in hearing. totally different stimuli direct our conentration towards a certain sensorium.

a public installation brings this sensoric shift to our attention: a robot is trying to find it's way with a totally useless sensorium. the entire real world environment is reduced to a stereophonic soundfield. silent obstacles are invisible. only the noisy provoke a reaction and thus define the path this robot is following through the world. a video camera mounted within the robot transmits an image of the visual environment (of which the robot is unaware) to an adjacant room, allowing the audience to see what the robot hears. nevertheless, the camera movement remains a mystery as the soundfield of the neighbouring room cannot be perceived. the camera becomes controlled unconsciously.

robots are machos. petra is a woman

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