Simon Penny

Simon Penny
University of California, Irvine | UCI · Art

About

52
Publications
16,785
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581
Citations
Introduction
I was part of the first generation of digital media artists. I am committed to interdisciplinary pedagogy and research, to speculative and critical design practices, to critical study of technology, and to exploration of embodied cognition. I am co-director of the Industrial Crafts Research Network. I am a climate and sustainability activist and active in studying and preserving Indigenous Paciifc seafaring knowledge. Texts and more details at www.simonpenny.net

Publications

Publications (52)
Article
The emergence of media-arts and digital cultural practices has provided a highly charged context for the development of interdisciplinary pedagogy, combining as it does, practices and traditions from historically, culturally and theoretically wildly divergent disciplines. This article addresses aspects of effective interdisciplinary educational pro...
Article
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This paper reflects on the qualities of living and learning in digital cultures, the design of digital technologies and the philosophical history that has informed that design. It takes as its critical perspective the field of embodied cognition as it has developed over the last three decades, in concert with emerging neurophysiology and neurocogni...
Article
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The practices of the arts—plastic and performing—deal in direct sensorial engagement with the body, with materiality, with artifacts and tools, with spaces, and with other people. The arts are centrally concerned with intelligent doing. Conventional explanations of the cognitive dimensions of arts practices have been unsatisfying because internalis...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This short paper is an abstract fora keynote given in Vienna in February 2018.Title may or may not be self explanatory, depending on your background, but its a quick read. :)
Data
(cover: Piotr Kowalski, Mesures à prendre (Measure to be taken), 1969 Courtesy of Andrea Kowalski)
Book
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How are we to understand works of art that are realized with viewers’ physical involvement? How are we to analyze a relationship between a work of art and its audience that is rooted in an experience both aesthetic and physical when “user experience” is a central concern of a society held in the grip of omnipresent interactivity? Between two seemin...
Chapter
Robotic Art and related practices provide a context in which real-time computational technologies and techniques are deployed for cultural purposes. This practice brings the embodied experientiality, so central to art hard up against the tacit commitment to abstract disembodiment inherent in the computational technologies. In this essay I explore t...
Article
This article describes the development of several interactive installations and robotic artworks developed through the 1990s and the technological, theoretical, and discursive context in which those works arose. The main works discussed are Petit Mal (1989–1995), Sympathetic Sentience (1996–1997), Fugitive I (1996–1997), Traces (1998–1999), and Fug...
Research
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forthcoming in Robots and Art: Exploring an Unlikely Symbiosis Eds: Damith Herath Christian Kroos and Stelarc Pub: Springer.
Research
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This is a kluged together version of paper and appendices for Artifical Life vol 21 no 3 special issue: Art, Creativity, Culture, and Artificial Life, Ed. Alan Dorin. MIT Press, 2015
Research
Full-text available
The elephants in the (server) room Simon Penny University of California, Irvine Forthcoming – Complex Ubiquity, MIT Press 2015. Eds Ekman, Bolter, Diaz.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Emergence appears in the literature as related to self-organization and novelty. For many authors it is the result of multiple interactions among agents within a system, which generate phenomena that could not be understood, nor anticipated, through the analysis of the elements and their behaviors in isolation. For others, emergent phenomena are re...
Article
When artists engage electronic and particularly digital tools, a negotiation occurs between methodologies of traditional art practice and the value system inherent in the tools themselves. This negotiation is implicit and rarely discussed. The nature of artistic practice, the artistic product, and the consumption of the work are thereby changed and...
Article
This paper pursues the intertwined tracks of robotics and art since the mid 20th century, taking a loose chronological approach that considers both the devices themselves and their discursive contexts. Relevant research has occurred in a variety of cultural locations, often outside of or prior to formalized robotics contexts. Research was even cond...
Article
This paper places contemporary modalities of digital interaction in an historical context of sixty years of intersections between technological development and artistic experimentation. Specific technological developments are identified as context-defining historical markers and specific works are discussed as exemplars of significant milestones in...
Article
This essay begins with discussion of four relatively recent works which are representative of major themes and preoccupations in Artificial Life Art: ‘Propagaciones’ by Leo Nuñez; ‘Sniff’ by Karolina Sobecka and Jim George; ‘Universal Whistling Machine’ by Marc Boehlen; and ‘Performative Ecologies’ by Ruari Glynn. This essay is an attempt to contex...
Article
Leonardo da Vinci was a strong advocate for using sketches to stimulate the human imagination. Sketching is often considered to be integral to the process of design, providing an open workspace for ideas. For these same reasons, children use sketching as a simple way to express visual ideas. By merging the abstraction of human drawings and the free...
Article
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This article is concerned with the nature of traditions of Arts practice with respect to computational practices and related value systems. At root, it concerns the relationship between the specificities of embodied materiality and aspirations to universality inherent in symbolic abstraction. This tension is embodied in the contemporary academy, as...
Article
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This paper introduces a mixed reality workspace that allows users to combine physical and computer-generated artifacts, and to control and simulate them within one fused world. All interactions are captured, monitored, modeled and represented with pseudo-real world physics. The objective of the presented research is to create a novel system in whic...
Article
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This paper describes research into the sonification of large-scale landscape imagery. Techniques for image sonification are coupled with users' physical navigation of the image data and a visual representation of the correspondence between the image and sound. One application of this research, an interactive art installation titled Sonic Panoramas,...
Article
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Traces is an artwork for the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) that uses a novel machine vision system to enable unencumbered full body interaction with a range of semi-autonomous agents without the imposition of any sort of textual, iconic or encoded gestural interfaces and without physically restrictive wiring, pointing devices, or headge...
Article
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Traces" is an immersive art project which uses the CAVE stereo-immersive environment for an unorthodox purpose. While most virtual worlds are based on a paradigm of virtual navigation through texture mapped worlds, Traces has no world" and no navigation. The aesthetic/theoretical goal of Traces is to focus the attention of the user onto their sense...
Chapter
Human Cognition and Social Agent Technology is written for readers who are curious about what human (social) cognition is, and whether and how advanced software programs or robots can become social agents. Topics addressed in 16 peer-reviewed chapters by researchers at the forefront of agent research include: Narrative intelligence and implementati...
Article
This paper has been incorrectly cited on researchgate and elsewhere. The paper The Virtualization of Art Practice: Body Knowledge and the Engineering Worldview was published in Art Journal 56(3):30-38, 1997. (The full paper can be found at http colon backslash backslash simonpenny dot net slash1990Writings slash) It was, as I recall, an early case...
Article
Research papers available on the World Wide Web (WWW or Web) are often poorly organized, often exist in forms opaque to search engines (e.g. Postscript), and increase in quantity daily. Significant amounts of time and effort are typically needed ...
Article
The invitation to report on my experience as an artist working in electronic media is both a troubling and ironic request. Like many of my peers and forebears, I have had to leave the country in order to pursue my practice and to find employment. The expatriate condition leads to constant weighing and comparison. Some of that weighing is related he...
Article
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Article
With the increasing emphasis on the use of Computer Graphics in Computer Science and other application areas, more schools are beginning to offer advanced courses in Computer Graphics, either at the undergraduate or the graduate level. Whereas there ...
Article
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It was not until the late 1980s that the term 'Artificial Life' arose as a descriptor of a range of (mostly) computer based research practices which sought alternatives to conventional Artificial Intelligence methods as a source of (quasi-) intelligent behavior in technological systems and artifacts. These practices included reactive and bottom-up...
Article
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Avatars are generally thought of as a direct representation of a user in a virtual environment. But as the complexity of virtual en-vironments increases and, with it, the scope and complexity of possi-ble avatar behavior, it becomes more and more difficult to maintain a direct correlation between the user's wishes and the avatar's actions. Instead...
Article
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From A Guide to Good Practice in Collaborative Working Methods and New Media Tools Creation Section 0: Introduction 0.1 The challenge Human culture, and western culture in particular, is in a process of radical change due to the development of digital technologies. It is a commonplace that this change is as radical as the transition to industrialis...
Article
Full-text available
This paper outlines the development over several years of Petit Mal, an autonomous robotic artwork, and discusses a new project arising from it. Central concerns are an holistic approach to the hardware/software duality, the construction of a seemingly sentient and social machine from minimal components, the generation of an agent interface utilisi...

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Projects (7)
Project
The Industrial Crafts Research Network is an international, interdisciplinary research network of academics, museum professionals, designers and practitioners dedicated to the study of and communication of materially engaged embodied knowledge related to the cognitive ecologies of mechanised production environments.
Project
Project Greensteam aims to develop a new generation of steam engines, leveraging advances in power machinery engineering, metallurgy, synthetic and composite materials, and digital, electromechanical and sensor solutions that have been developed in the century since steam engine development essentially stopped. Greensteam addresses sustainability issues by making small scale stationary steam plants with clean and efficient engines and boilers, for cogeneration of heat, mechanical and electric power, exploiting low grade solid fuels such as agricultural and domestic waste.
Project
Hi all I'm starting this thread to spread the word about BoKII. As many of you know, I ran a (very successful) conference at UCI in December 2016 - A Body of Knowledge: Embodied Cognition and the Arts, with the able assistance of Kelly Donahey. see simonpenny.net/BK/ Jondi Keane of Deakin University proposed to do the second iteration in Melbourne in late June 2019. I expect that there will be url soon. Don't bomb his inbox but if you have money or resources to offer, I'm sure he'd be pleased to know. jondi.keane@deakin.edu.au