Field Studies Version 1
Field Studies version 1 showing Line Reader, Lind Drawer, Light Seeker and Light Emitter

Jessica Field

Field Studies Version 1, 2008

Field Studies V2
Field Studies V1
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Field Studies Version 1: Project Overview from Jessica Field on Vimeo.

Installation Overview

This large installation displays the robots behind glass cases and the only information about the robot's ecology comes from very biased narratives. There are three videos: one on the field study notes taken from robot observations, one using subtitles to describe the robot's experiences using humanistic ideas and the last is a lecture that describes a robot brain schematic to help humans understand robot psychology better. This robot psychology is designed with the intention of using the robot’s AI program as a research space to further understand and resolve issues in basic human psychology.

These video works are filmed in the style of a naturalist researching animal behaviour in the wilderness, though the subjects are four robots. A robot is deterministic; it is a character without free will. A robot's behaviour is determined by the external control of its environment and the internal control of its program. Yet in running a robot, glitches arise that defy the confines of the program and it behaves in a manner not intended.

These videos visualize how a forgotten or misplaced command creates an unexpected behaviour. These video works mimic organic behaviours to accentuate the discovery process I go through to understand the robot. The robot becomes its own entity through my inability to be omnicompetent

The robots in their social interactions with each other are designed to show how their ability to self analyze, when carried to an extreme, results in an inability to function. The robots' obsessive tendency to self evaluate causes their behavioural responses to act without instinct, without self-preservation.



The still images of the gallery space were taken by Bettina Hoffmann at the Optica Gallery in Montreal. This project was funded by CIAM.


Concept

Observational Studies of a robot Ecosystem from Jessica Field on Vimeo.

This installation is comprised of 4 robot actors that all think for themselves and contribute their own part in the creation of a potential ecosystem. There is a Line Drawing robot who is oblivious to everything but light and the wireless frequency of the Light Seeking robot. The Light Seeking robot is self-absorbed with its preoccupation in finding the highest concentration of light as often as possible. When it does so, it has done its duty and sends a wireless announcement. Upon hearing the announcement, the Drawing robot takes the cue to draw a line. The Line Reading robot is self absorbed in finding as many lines as often as possible and, when it has successfully found a line, it sends a wireless signal announcing its success that only the Light Emitting robot can hear. The Light Emitting robot is oblivious to anything but the Reader's wireless signal and any passing audio sounds.more and less

The piece looks at the social implications of having two self-absorbed robots working with two oblivious robots to create a self perpetuating ecosystem. None of the robots have any concept of cooperation or know that the others even exist and thus, the result is a dysfunctional ecosystem. The oblivious robots let their environment guide them, leaving all their responses to chance. The self-absorbed robots internalize all information to such a degree that they can't function in their real environment. They look so hard for their goals and desire success to such a degree that they miss what they are looking for.
The drama of the work is in the question that, despite all the robot's handicaps, will they ever seem to cooperate enough so they are able to do their jobs at once and, for a short time, be satisfied? Or are they condemned by their programmed flaws to participate in an ecosystem that is always failing?



The still images of the gallery space were taken by Bettina Hoffmann at the Optica Gallery in Montreal. This project was funded by CIAM.


Line Reading Robot

Line Reading Robot from Jessica Field on Vimeo.

This stubborn species of robot lives off the product of its own delusions. It is obsessed with finding lines as often as possible and it uses the presence of sound as its means to find lines to read. Observational studies of gathered research on the Line Reading Robot.



The still images of the gallery space were taken by Bettina Hoffmann at the Optica Gallery in Montreal. This project was funded by CIAM.


Line Drawing Robot

Field Studies (Drawing Robot) from Jessica Field on Vimeo.

It is without a doubt that the Drawing Line Robot species lives in its own paradigm where its complete attention to light drives all of its behaviours. It is also influenced by the Light Seeking robot in that every time this robot sees light, the Drawing robot draws a line.



The still images of the gallery space were taken by Bettina Hoffmann at the Optica Gallery in Montreal. This project was funded by CIAM.


Light Seeking Robot

Field Studies: Light Seeker Robot from Jessica Field on Vimeo.

The Light Seeker robot shows all the impatience of a species of robot driven by instant gratification. Quite often its impatience is the cause of its inability to take care of its essential needs.



The still images of the gallery space were taken by Bettina Hoffmann at the Optica Gallery in Montreal. This project was funded by CIAM.


Light Emitting Robot

Field Studies: Light Emitter from Jessica Field on Vimeo.

Explanation video on the Light Emitter robot. This video describes the accumulative research that has been acquired on the social behaviours of this particular robot. It is clear that this species does not have the observational skills to be attentive to the needs of the Light Seeking robot that is highly dependant on it.



The still images of the gallery space were taken by Bettina Hoffmann at the Optica Gallery in Montreal. This project was funded by CIAM.


Maladjusted Ecosystem - Video Work

Maladjusted Ecosystem from Jessica Field on Vimeo.

This project is a simplified social experiment to see how a few simple principles can create negative behaviours that complicate one's ability to experience life as they intend. When the robots interact with each other, we see how a potential ecosystem is never realized due to each robot's tragic flaw (programmed principles). Instead, we see stereotypical responses that results from the attitude of always struggling in a robot versus robot environment. This endless struggle prevents any robot from experiencing unity with its surroundings. Since the robots are able to choose their own behavioural responses to their environment, they become a simplified mimicry of life that shows how their limited programs guide their reactions in a controlled social environment. Thus the work becomes a performance illustrating how these one or two principles influencing all the robots' responses affect the individual robot and its peers in both an indirect and direct manner.

This work looks at how the predisposition to follow one's own ideas interferes with the concept of unity and how being completely oblivious to the environment without some internalization of the data gathered from the environment is also at odds with cooperation. Programming the Line Reader and Light Seeker robots to constantly self analyze has the result of making them nearly incapable of functioning in a productive way. They are preoccupied with their own internal dramas of fulfilling an unachievable goal. The oblivious robots, the Drawing and Light Emitter, are no better as they have no knowledge of the robots who are dependant on them and cannot attentively assist them.

Thus, the work is a performance depicting the suffering of these robots who are working to create a closed ecosystem that can never be realized due to their attitudes that are driven by a completely self absorbed program.



The still images of the gallery space were taken by Bettina Hoffmann at the Optica Gallery in Montreal. This project was funded by CIAM.

Technical Description of Project

These robots' behaviours are defined by the guidelines in their programs and they can never defer from it. They are actors that show how a tragic flaw can manifest itself in a social environment. They are programmed to make their own interpretations based on the defined principles in their programs and, in doing so, surprise the programmer with their responses and behaviour. Their behaviours are unpredictable as their program relies on the environment for initiating all decisions.

The self analysis programs in the Line Reading and Light Seeking Robots are instructions that skew the meaning of the data gathered into an interpretation of how well the robot is doing. External data is collected and used to make the best choice, then the data is skewed into a new meaning where the robot appears to respond emotionally to its situation rather than practically. The Light Seeking robot uses all data collected to measure how long has it been since it last found a strong light source. It will only move towards the brightest area of light without any analysis of other environmental factors. The Line Reader blindly trusts in the location audio signals and moves towards where it hears them. This blind trust in audio creates for the robot a conflict with its desire to acquire knowledge as sounds lead it close to the Light Seeking robot and not to a line. So when it hears something while on a line, the robot will leave the line attracted to the sound which shortens its intellectual experience.

The Line Drawing Robot uses the raw external data gathered from its sensors to drive its reactions. There is no mediation between input and output. This robot is the embodiment of obliviousness as it is always physically interfering with the seeking robots. The Light Emitter works on similar principles, only the raw data is used as a trigger to initiate its reactions. The Light Emitter’s body responds to audio to triggers which it uses as a means to decide where to move. All its movements are arbitrary determined by an interpretation of a sound wave so it will redirect the Light Seekers light source preventing it from feeding from the light. The irony is that the Light Seeker’s own impatience or excitement for light is the trigger that causes the Light Emitter to look away.



The still images of the gallery space were taken by Bettina Hoffmann at the Optica Gallery in Montreal. This project was funded by CIAM.