Rebecca Lynch in the Department of Informatics
Rebecca Lynch was a creative-writer-in-residence at King's from 2017–18, supported by the Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Sciences. Working in collaboration with Professor Elizabeth Sklar, Head of the Centre for Robotics Research at King's, Rebecca explored storytelling around technological futures for human-robot societies through experimental fiction and visual artefacts.
Morphologix – visual storytelling for a human-robot society
While an artwork may originate with one designer or composer, often in the arts teams of humans work together to construct large-scale visual installations or performances. Addressing challenges involved in coordinating multi-human/multi-robot teams led Elizabeth Sklar, Professor of Robotics and the Head of the Centre for Robotics Research (CoRe) in the Department of Informatics at King’s, to consider ways in which artists cooperate with multiple intelligent agents (human and robot) in accomplishing joint goals.
Film by Gemma Riggs
CoRe specialises in the advancement of robotic manipulators and sensors and intelligent, adaptive and interactive controllers. Working with Prof Sklar and researchers at CoRe, as well as other staff and students across King’s, Rebecca had access to state-of-the-art robotics research and an opportunity to observe the design, development and testing of robotic technologies up close and in depth.
During the residency, Rebecca engaged researchers in the Department of Informatics and the Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Sciences in two-way exchanges. These discussions were the catalyst for Morphologix, a series of experimental short fictions exploring imagined technological futures for human-robot societies, accompanied by a series of imagined artifacts to illustrate the stories and ideas in visual form.
The residency provided opportunities for members of CoRe, as well as other staff and students at King’s who are engaged in robotics research, to participate in open discussions, to interact with Rebecca to pursue specific ideas and to learn about the creative process and how it can inform their own work.
The outcomes of the project were showcased in the King's Artists – New Thinking, New Making exhibition in the Arcade at Bush House, 23 October – 15 December 2018.
Rebecca Lynch is a writer, designer and curator working for over 10 years at the junction of technology and the arts. She has researched and curated exhibitions and events for organisations including the Science Museum, British Council, Design Museum, and Imperial College and has designed installations for the Royal Society, NESTA’s FutureFest, and Abandon Normal Devices, among others. She holds an MSc from the London School of Economics and a joint MA in Curating from Kingston University and the Design Museum. Her first foray into design was a Futurist-inspired window for the British Library, the winning response to a graduate competition judged by Peter Saville in 2008.
Rebecca has a strong interest in language and she founded text/gallery, a collaborative platform exploring the relationship between the visual and written word, in 2007, followed by So Far, the Future, an experimental art space active in London between 2001 and 2013, that continues as So Weit, Die Zukunft in Vienna.
In addition to her design and curating work, Rebecca writes on topics including graphic design, book design and publishing, visual culture, sound art and museology. 'Fair Arbiters', one of Rebecca's speculative sci fi stories, has been published by Nesta as part of their creative anthology Finding Ctrl, which can be read on their website.
Professor Elizabeth Sklar is a Professor of Robotics and the Head of the Centre for Robotics Research (CoRe) in the Department of Informatics at King’s. She received her PhD from Brandeis University, USA, in 2000, and subsequently has held academic positions at Columbia University, City University of New York and University of Liverpool. She is also a former US-UK Fulbright Scholar.
Elizabeth’s research interests include human/multi-robot interaction and behaviour mining. Her research has largely been funded by the US National Science Foundation, as well as the US Department of Education and the US Army Research Lab, and more recently in the UK by the EPSRC and ESRC.
She has published over 150 papers in refereed journals, conferences and workshops and has edited two books. She is a founding chair of RoboCupJunior, an international educational robotics initiative, on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Autonomous Agents and MultiAgent Systems and on the Board of Directors for the International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems.
More information about Elizabeth’s work and research is available on her website.