20–30 September 2018


Voice and Movement

This interactive installation examines the relationship between robotic movement and synthetic sound.

Developed by Sheffield audio-visual artist Mark Fell and Sheffield Robotics at the University of Sheffield, the piece explores and confronts attitudes towards robotics, automation and technology.

It builds on research at the University of Sheffield into collaborative robotics, which investigates how humans and robots can share spaces and work with, and in support of, one another. Humans have incredible cognitive and perceptual abilities that far surpass the robot, while the robot is able to endlessly repeat actions with very high precision, and undertake tasks that would be dangerous for a human.

This piece tears down the physical barriers that usually separate humans and robots in the manufacturing environment, and hints at a future shared with robots.

Opening times

Thursday 20 – Thursday 27 September

  • Monday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm
  • Wednesday: 10am – 8pm
  • Sunday: 11am – 4pm

Mark Fell is a multidisciplinary artist based in Sheffield. After studying experimental film and video art at Sheffield City Polytechnic he reverted to earlier interests in computational technology, music and synthetic sound. In 1998 he began a series of critically acclaimed record releases on labels including Mille Plateaux, Line, Editions Mego and Raster Noton.

Fell is widely known for exploring the relationships between popular music styles, such as electronica and club musics, and typically academic approaches to computer-based composition with a particular emphasis on algorithmic and mathematical systems.

Since his early electronic music pieces Fell’s practice has expanded to include moving image works, sound and light installation, choregraaphy, critical texts, curatorial projects and educational activites. He has worked with a number of artists, including: Yasunao Tone, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Okkyung Lee, Luke Fowler, Peter Gidal, John Chowning, Ernest Edmonds, Peter Rehberg, Oren Ambarchi and Carl Michael Von Hausswolff.

Dr James Law is the Senior Experimental Officer in Sheffield Robotics, and leads research on collaborative robotics – humans and robots working together in shared spaces in support of one another. Stumbling into robotics following a chance encounter, James has conducted research in areas including robot teams (representing England at two robot football world cups), and developmental robotics (building robots that learn like human infants). His latest work aims to build trust and acceptance in the technology.

Dr Jonathan Aitken is an academic in the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering (ACSE). Previously as a Research Fellow he worked in the Autonomous Control Laboratory in the Autonomous Systems and Robotics Group of ACSE. His work focuses on autonomous reconfiguration of robotic systems, especially on quadcopter platforms. He maintains an active interest in deploying autonomous robotics in the real world. His primary areas of research are in developing processes and policies for the safe use of autonomous drones, computer vision, spatial awareness of robotic systems and operation of multi-robot teams in the field. He is also active in the area of cobotics (collaborative robotics). This enables people to get up close to manufacturing robots and collaborate with them both safely and enjoyably, which reduces negative attitudes towards robots.

This exhibit is part of the Futurecade series of events.