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Emergent Synthetic Life

May 02, 2016

Nurturing Emergent Synthetic Life (NESL), a 6-minute short film by Professor Nicole Koltick, Director of the Design Futures Lab, produced in collaboration collaboration with Film & Television Professor Jocelyn Tarquini-Motter and Dragon Productions, will premiere on Wednesday, May 4th at 6pm in the URBN Annex Screening Room. As research into robotics and Artificial Intelligence explodes, there remains a vast potential of unexplored territory exploring our relationships to robots and the narratives we weave surrounding their adoption into our lives. This film captures this new species of robots, their artificial environment and a set of interactions to provoke questions relating to the robots of the future

The film explores the poetic potentials of a new robotic species, NESL (Nurturing Emergent Synthetic Life). NESL's are a species of crystal gardening robots situated within a dynamic digitally modelled and fabricated synthetic terrain. This project originated through questions focused on ethics and empathy towards robots, and the potential for their behaviors in ways not informed by pragmatics or economy. What if NESL's made aesthetic decisions? What does a wholly synthetic ecology look and behave like? What if robots designed and built themselves? What if a robot had a hobby? One particular focus of the film involves NESL’s vision and a narrative surrounding his burgeoning aesthetic awareness and participation within his surrounding synthetic ecology. 

This event is in collaboration with the Drexel Art Organization (DART). DART provides creative forums for students interested in art and design and hosts numerous events and fieldtrips each year.