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    Content by Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson
    E-Textile Tailor Shop by KOBAKANT
    The following institutions have funded our research and supported our work:

    From 2013-2015 Mika is a guest professor at the eLab at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee

    From July - December 2013 Hannah was a researcher at the UdK's Design Research Lab

    From 2010-2012 Mika was a guest researcher in the Smart Textiles Design Lab at The Swedish School of Textiles

    From 2009 - 2011 Hannah was a graduate student in the MIT Media Lab's High-Low Tech research group led by Leah Buechley


    In 2009 Hannah and Mika were both research fellows at the Distance Lab


    Between 2003 - 2009 Hannah and Mika were both students at Interface Cultures
    We support the Open Source Hardware movement. All our own designs published on this website are released under the Free Cultural Works definition
    Workshops

    Crafting Robots

    August 29 & 30 2019, 10-16:00, TU Berlin

    From Robots that Craft, to Crafting Robots

    Examining technology through a material lens — a means of looking inside the machine by way of remaking its component parts — in order to spin new robot stories.

    This workshop was invited by Pat Treusch of „Träumen Roboter vom Stricken?“ and Postdoc DiGiTal Verbundprogramm and organized and lead by Daniela Rosner and Hannah Perner-Wilson.

    LINKS
    Photos:
    >> https://www.flickr.com/photos/plusea/albums/72157710658895263
    Download workshop zine:
    >> https://drive.google.com/file/d/1IEajtQ7cdCrCNFie00D-Yxsa2QckTF4B/view?usp=sharing

    Crafting Robots


    “A robot is a machine—especially one programmable by a computer— capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robot)

    When we think about robots, we often think of them in terms of what we want them to do.
    What if, instead, we think about robots in terms of the materials they are made of, the tools used to work these materials and the people skilled at using these tools?
    Starting with the material, exploring its composition, interrogating its form, mapping its locales, retracing its inheritances, confronting the histories of erasure and oppression of which it has been a part – what kinds of robots would the materials lead us to make?

    In this workshop we explore the material underpinnings of robots in order to explore what other futures they might bring about.

    We will make robots from a limited set of materials, with a focus on fibers, filaments, threads, yarns, strings – long narrow flexible material that lends itself to a variety of traditional textile techniques.

    Through an unraveling of the material, we develop a process of collective accountability that exposes the varied social, political, economic conditions that shape robots and what other futures they might bring about. In this material-focused approach, we make use of modes of inquiry familiar to traditional handcraft practices such as knitting, crochet, embroidery, and weaving. In such textiles encounters, a making process becomes an intense process of collective accountability, a discussion of human-material relations across diverse spaces and times. It opens an opportunity to listen, to notice, to grasp what the materials tell us about their pasts and about what they would like to become. If we think of craft techniques as styles of communication (between a maker and a material, between new and old conditions, between impossible pasts and possible futures), and we ask ourselves how we would like to communicate with materials, where does this take us?

    Crafting Robots


    OUTCOMES

    Critical Datasheets

    Other Robot Stories


    SCHEDULE


    DAY1

    Explain what a robot is in your own words

    Meet the Materials
    WHAT CAN WE LEARN ABOUT THE MATERIALS?
    WHAT MIGHT WE NEVER LEARN ABOUT THE MATERIALS?
    HOW CAN WE USE THE UN/KNOWN TO IMAGINE THEM DIFFERENTLY?

    Crafting Robots

    Investigative Tools
    – burn technique
    – magnifying glass
    – USB microscope
    – thickness measuring tool
    – multimeter

    Making Tools/Techniques
    spinning
    felting
    knitting
    crochet
    weaving
    circular weaving
    knotting, macramé
    braiding
    sewing
    stuffing, darning

    —LUNCH—

    Capturing Process
    What are you thinking while you’re making?

    Critical Datasheet
    How can we re-imagine the DATASHEET to capture other stories?
    What kinds of information are you able to capture and share about the sensor you are making?
    What kinds of information might you never be able to capture or share?


    DAY 2

    Other Robot Stories
    Setting -> Wild Card
    Robot -> Critical Datasheet
    Protagonist -> pick somebody in the group

    Taking Parts Apart –> Crafting Actuators

    soft robotics
    >> https://softroboticstoolkit.com/
    >> http://morphingmatter.cs.cmu.edu/~morphin5/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/soft_actuated_objects.pdf
    >> https://real.itu.dk/projects/soft-robotics/

    Dave Griffiths’ woven robot bodies
    >> https://fo.am/events/woven-weaving-robots/

    Embroidered Computer
    >> http://www.ireneposch.net/the-embroidered-computer/

    Textile actuators
    >> http://www.howtogetwhatyouwant.at/

    TEXTILE ACTUATOR BOTS:
    – Textile LED Bot
    – Textile Servo Bot
    – Textile Speaker Bot

    Crafting Robots

    Textile LED Bot

    Textile Servo Bot

    Textile Speaker Bot

    —LUNCH—

    Storytelling Examples
    using visual media to tell other robot stories…

    Finger Nagel:

    Tech Opera:

    Robot blanket:
    >> http://setwrite.in/projects/201506-rca-humanoid-blanket.html

    Building Other Robots

    Documenting/Storytelling Other Robot Stories

    Show&Tell
    +closing discussion


    DOCUMENTATION OF OUTCOMES


    THE CRITICAL DATASHEETS


    Electroskin
    Crafting Robots
    Crafting Robots

    Blue Bond
    Crafting Robots
    Crafting Robots

    Cotton Macrame Arms Sensor
    Crafting Robots
    Crafting Robots

    SHOMOIS
    Crafting Robots

    Stretch Sensor
    Crafting Robots

    Whisker Sensor
    (knit by a human and a robot)
    Crafting Robots
    Crafting Robots
    Crafting Robots

    PingPom
    Crafting Robots

    Dangerous Sensor
    Crafting Robots

    Twist Sensor
    Crafting Robots

    A Switch in Search of a Purpose
    Crafting Robots
    Crafting Robots
    Crafting Robots


    THE OTHER ROBOT STORIES


    Call me Lapislazar
    Crafting Robots
    Crafting Robots
    Crafting Robots
    Crafting Robots

    The Last Human
    Crafting Robots
    Crafting Robots
    Crafting Robots
    Crafting Robots

    The Tale of the Tilt
    Crafting Robots
    Crafting Robots

    Crafting Robots

    Crafting Robots
    Crafting Robots

    Crafting Robots
    Crafting Robots


    GLOSSARY


    Actuator is a component of a machine that is responsible for moving and controlling a mechanism or system, for example by opening a valve. In simple terms, it is a “mover”. An actuator requires a control signal and a source of energy. Wikipedia

    C0MMON GROUND refers to opinions or interests shared by each of two or more parties. OED

    Community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as norms, religion, values, customs, or identity. Communities may share a sense of place situated in a given geographical area (e.g. a country, village, town, or neighbourhood) or in virtual space through communication platforms. Durable relations that extend beyond immediate genealogical ties also define a sense of community, important to their identity, practice, and roles in social institutions such as family, home, work, government, society, or humanity at large. Wikipedia

    Community accountability is practice of imagining, creating,and applying alternative responses to violence from and within communities. (Durazo & Rojas, 2011: 77).

    Conductivity is the power of conducting heat, electricity, etc.; esp. with reference to its degree. OED

    Craft or trade is a pastime or a profession that requires particular skills and knowledge of skilled work. In a historical sense, particularly the Middle Ages and earlier, the term is usually applied to people occupied in small-scale production of goods, or their maintenance, for example by tinkers. Wikipedia

    datasheet, data sheet, or spec sheet is a document that summarizes the performance and other technical characteristics of a product, machine, component (e.g., an electronic component), material, a subsystem (e.g., a power supply) or software in sufficient detail that allows design engineer to understand the role of the component in the overall system. Wikipedia

    Electrical Conductivity + Resistivity
    Electrical resistivity and its inverse, electrical conductivity, is a fundamental property of a material that quantifies how strongly it resists or conducts electric current. Wikipedia

    Electronic component is any basic discrete device or physical entity in an electronic system used to affect electrons or their associated fields. Electronic components are mostly industrial products, available in a singular form. Wikipedia
    Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other things, including bridges, roads, vehicles, and buildings. Wikipedia

    Fact is that which is known (or firmly believed) to be real or true; what has actually happened or is the case; truth attested by direct observation or authentic testimony; reality. OED

    Fiber is a natural or synthetic substance that is significantly longer than it is wide. Wikipedia

    Ground is the bottom; the lowest part or downward limit of anything; a circumstance on which an opinion, inference, argument, statement, or claim is founded, or which has given rise to an action, procedure, or mental feeling; the soil of the earth; the contact of the conductor of an electric circuit with the earth; the escape of current resulting from this.

    History refers to the senses relating to the narration, representation, or study of events or phenomena; the branch of knowledge that deals with past events; the formal record or study of past events, esp. human affairs; the facts relating to animals, plants, or other natural objects or phenomena existing on the earth or in a particular region; a systematic account of such facts or description of such objects or phenomena. OED

    life cycle analysis (LCA) is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product’s life from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling. Designers use this process to help critique their products. Wikipedia

    Magnet Wire
    Wire for winding used in electrical equipment is generally called magnet wire. Simply put, “Magnet wire is used for interchanging electrical energy with magnetic energy”. Magnet wires are broadly divided into enamelled wire (coating insulation), covered conductor wire (fiber/film insulation), and combinations thereof. Wikipedia

    MATERIAL the matter from which a thing is or can be made. information or ideas for use in creating a book or other work.denoting or consisting of physical objects rather than the mind or spirit. significant; important. OED
    A material is a chemical substance or mixture of substances that constitutes an object. Materials can be pure or impure, living or non-living matter. Materials can be classified based on their physical and chemical properties, or on their geological origin or biological function. Materials science is the study of materials and their applications.Wikipedia

    (The) Material turn in organization studies is the theoretical movement emphasizing objects, instruments and embodiments involved in organizations and organizing (theoretical debate [1]) and the ontologies underpinnings theories about organizations and organizing, what deeply ‘matters’ in the study of organizations and organizing (e.g. structures, agency, intentionallity, process, movements, relations, networks, entities, substance, technologies, semiosis, etc.) Wikipedia

    Power refers to the ability to act or affect something strongly; physical or mental strength; might; vigour, energy; effectiveness; political or national strength.
    authority given or conferred; capacity to direct or influence the behaviour of others; personal or social influence; any form or source of energy or force available for application to work, or applied to produce motion, heat, or pressure; spec. (a) mechanical force applied to overcome a resisting force such as weight or friction; (b) mechanical or electrical energy as distinguished from manual effort. OED

    Robot is a machine—especially one programmable by a computer— capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically. Wikipedia

    Resistance is the refusal to accept or comply with something; the ability not to be affected by something, especially adversely. OED

    Roving
    A roving is a long and narrow bundle of fiber. Rovings are produced during the process of making spun yarn from wool fleece, raw cotton, or other fibres. Their main use is as fibre prepared for spinning Wikipedia.

    Sensor
    In the broadest definition, a sensor is a device, module, or subsystem whose purpose is to detect events or changes in its environment and send the information to other electronics, frequently a computer processor.Wikipedia

    Story is an oral or written narrative account of events that occurred or are believed to have occurred in the past; a narrative account accepted as true by virtue of great age or long tradition; a short account of an amusing, interesting, or telling incident, whether real or fictitious; an anecdote. OED

    String is a cord, piece of yarn, or related uses; a fine cord composed of the fibres or filaments of flax, cotton, wool, silk, etc. spun to a considerable length; spec. OED

    Technology is a particular practical or industrial art; a branch of the mechanical arts or applied sciences; a technological discipline. OED

    Thread is a cord, piece of yarn, or related uses; a fine cord composed of the fibres or filaments of flax, cotton, wool, silk, etc. spun to a considerable length; spec. such a cord composed of two or more yarns, esp. of flax, twisted together; applied also to a similar product from glass, asbestos, a ductile metal, etc. OED

    tool is an object used to extend the ability of an individual to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals use simple tools, only human beings, whose use of stone tools dates back hundreds of millennia, use tools to make other tools. Wikipedia

    Yarn is originally, spun fibre, as of cotton, silk, wool, flax; now, usually, fibre spun and prepared for use in weaving, knitting, the manufacture of sewing-thread, etc.
    A chat, a talk (chiefly Austrialian and New Zealand, colloquial).


    Hannah’s reflections on the workshop

    In retrospect I feel in this workshop we tried to bring together three things:
    1) big theoretical concepts
    2) current theoretical discussion
    3) hands-on / material conversation, situated/community experience

    1
    the idea that the reality we live in is a complex fabric made up of stories that we believe. Human societies need stories, use stories, make stories. To collaborate, to motivate, derive meaning and pleasure and pain, to negotiate space, to control one another, to justify, to inquire…..
    The complexity of our story fabric is so large and melded with our consciousness that we can never….. that objectivity is a myth.
    keywords: reality, objectivity, stories

    2
    current discourse around ways of knowing and acting on our knowledge.
    keywords: situated knowledge, feminism, decolonization, post-anthropocene?

    3
    practices of making (craft, design, engineering) as means of generating and expressing knowledge. of listening to non-human actors.
    keywords: new materiality, material turn, non-human agency, object oriented ontology, post-anthropocene?

    So, a recognition of the complexity and a search for means to engage with this through SENSITIZING ourselves, becoming better listeners, feelers, observers, sensors for this complexity.
    In this workshop we choose to question Dominant Robot Stories through a practice of Spinning our own Other Robot Stories. We did not read, research into the past we tapped into our own knowledge storage (situated knowledge of the group?) by:
    first engaging our hands in making robots from less common robotic materials materials
    second allowing our minds to (collaboratively) spin robot stories knowing they would be informed by our embodies making experiences as well as our ideas (assumptions, stereotypes, ideas) about robots.
    the stories we spun were prompted by narratives of inequality.

    A peaceful, loving, caring society built on the suffering of one robot.
    A peaceful, loving, caring robot society built on the suffering of a single human.
    An underground society in revolt against above ground forces.

    Is this because we believe any/every story must deal with this aspect of human relations?
    Is equality a myth?
    What are other myths we wonder about?
    Technology!

    We were focussing on Robots, but really the idea of the robot was an example of TECHNOLOGY as a much larger narrative/story/myth.

    //–Technology will save us.
    //–Technology won’t save us.

    —//–What is technology?
    —( )–Who is technology?
    —W–Why is technology?
    -{ – }-When is technology?

    What METHODS did we use/try-out for unpacking dominant narratives/stories/myths and SENSITIZING ourselves to the complexity?

    MAKE-THINK
    to allow for making with materials to inform our thinking

    CAPTURE PROCESS
    to capture and analyze our own processes + thoughts through the things that we made

    SHARE & LISTEN
    to explore our thinking through sharing the things that we made (sensors, robots, videos) and inviting others to respond so that we can observe the effects of our actions on others, on the world

    CHANGE NEXT TIME:

    introduction could better motivate the workshop by explaining our underlying thinking/motivations/goals: to sensitize ourselves to the stories we live by and the stories we tell

    to preview what the outcome of the workshop could be (Other Robot Stories – videos, teamwork….)

    not allow people to come and go

    more time + ways for people to introduce themselves, and for us as a group to situate ourselves as a temporary “community” or group with shared+diverse interests.

    more time for reflection and discussion throughout and especially at the end —> TO UNPACK OUR OWN & EACHOTHERS ROBOT STORIES

    actuator introduction was messy. making robots + making robot stories could be simplified somehow….. maybe only one actuator and enough for everybody to have and know how to make/use/program themselves.

    Get to know the students better; and hopefully before designing the workshop materials.



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