Rhythm Bots

Naomi Ehrich Leonard (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Princeton) and Susan Marshall (Dance, Princeton), with María Santos (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Princeton), Sarah Witzman (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Princeton), Isla Xi Han (Architecture, Princeton), and Kathryn Wantlin (Computer Science, Princeton), bring to Pink Noise Projects: “Rhythm Bots,” a work at the intersection of multi-robot dynamics, human-robot interaction and art. “Rhythm Bots” is an actively controlled kinetic sculpture of synchronously moving robots that provides a site for choreography in the patterns of the rhythm bots and in the ways that the rhythm bots interact with people who approach or walk through the installation space. The work explores how the synchronous movement of rhythm bots supports rhythmic connection to members of an audience, how emergent communication through bodily movement can inform the response of rhythm bots to audience members, and ultimately how the experience of “Rhythm Bots” makes people feel and makes possible an active and meditative public space of connection.

Naomi Ehrich Leonard, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University, studies and designs the “logic” behind collective motion and decision-making dynamics of groups in nature, robotics, and dance. Susan Marshall, choreographer, professor and Director of Dance at Princeton University, uses recursive syntax and details of touch, intention, gravity, and gaze to probe the complexities of human behavioral systems and interpersonal relationships. Naomi and Susan first collaborated in 2010 on the site-specific performance piece “Flock Logic”, which explores what happens when human movers apply the rules used in models of flocking birds and schooling fish. More recently, Naomi collaborated with Susan on her performance installation “Rhythm Bath,” which offers an inviting space connecting audiences and performers through synchronized and rhythmic human movement. This collaboration led to questions about the possibilities for rhythmic connection between humans and robots.

Show dates: May 6 – 29
Opening First Friday, May 6th, 6pm – 9pm
Open Gallery Hours: Saturdays and Sundays, 2pm – 6pm
Special Hours during Robotics + Art Workshop at ICRA’22, May 23 – 25 (RSVP via QR code in image below).