[ISEA2020] Artist Statement: Adrianne Wortzel — The Sentient Thespian

Artist Statement

Tags: Machinic Sentience, Robotic Art, Video

TThe Sentient Thespian depicts a 21st Century Midsummers Night Dream where a fully “sentient” robot for the fourth industrial revolution passionately seeks to imbue sentience on a human automaton and the industrial robot arm she conducts by casting a love spell on both of them; only to suffer disappointment that his powers can merely simulate, but never imbue, true sentience. As silent films were parables of the evolution of our society from agricultural to industrial, this sort film intimates the new electronic industrial age upon us and its effect on the concept of self-hood from the point of view of a machine that has achieved sentience.

  • Adrianne Wortzel is an artist and pioneer in robotics and theater arts as well as a practitioner in video, photography, and artist’s books. She lives and works in New York, USA. As an undergraduate, she studied art with Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko, Jimmy Ernst, and Louise Bourgeois. She received an MFA in Computer Art from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Selected support for her work has been from the National Science Foundation; Eyebeam Art and Technology Center; the Swiss Artists-in-Labs Program; the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Zurich; Dora Maar Foundation, Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art, Greenwall Foundation; New York Foundation for the Arts, NYS Council for the Arts, the Brooklyn Museum, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and others. Selected exhibition venues include the Whitney Museum of American Art, Asheville Art Museum, Ars Electronica, Creative Time, MIT Vera List Center; Orlando Museum of Art; Moderna Museet-Stockholm. She is a Professor Emeritus of Emerging Media Technologies at Citytech, CUNY. adriannewortzel.com

This project was the result of a ThoughtWorks Arts Residency, and was sponsored by the Consortium for Research & Robotics at Pratt Institute, and supported by Reach Robotics, Great Britain.