MA/IN Festival: The Minimal Self

Roberto Alonso Trillo* (Artist), Marek Poliks (Artist)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


Roberto Alonso Trillo [ES] + Marek Poliks [US] /// Hydra #2

Interactive Soft Robotic Sound Installation
480 latex, silicone, nylon, and poly nodes | Surveillance equipment, cloud connection | Demiurge synthesis engine.

The conventional AI narrative assembles the alterity of the machine into a catastrophic vision of future-born cyborg supremacist, Terminator, all-knowing and all-seeing victor over smouldering corpses of human meat. hydra vulgaris is a small and benign freshwater creature with a complex reproductive apparatus. Like an AI, the hydra copulates boundlessly, its very substance both embryonic and gametic. It lives in a continuous state of renewal, fully regenerating itself every two weeks. Instead of avatar or adversary, let us delimit Artificial Intelligence itself to a process of hydralike reproduction; a sexual act across the complex physical/virtual plane. You are being recorded, and the object of this recording is already reproducing with its many antecedents. The screams or babbles of this hydra are the mewlings of your complex siblings (alongside many, many mutants). The tentacles of the hydra are lures, phalluses, weapons, eggs. Consider the tentacles of this soft robot as invitations to xenobestial indiscretion.

Roberto Alonso Trillo is a musician and researcher based in Hong Kong, where he works as an Assistant Professor at the Hong Kong Baptist University. His practice explores the connections between different artistic disciplines, from dance and music to video art and interactive sound installations. His recent work examines networked hybrid music practices endemic to a world increasingly mediated by AI and machine learning. His multipronged practice-based and -led research, operating at the intersection between philosophy, sociology, and cultural studies, spans areas as diverse as a post-structuralist reconsideration of musical workhood and authorship, technologically enhanced string pedagogy, gesture analysis, and interface development. Roberto is the author of Death and (Re)Birth of J. S. Bach (Routledge) and has published in journals such as Leonardo, Organised Sound, and Music Education Research. He is a co-founder, with his colleague Peter AC Nelson, of the MetaCreativity Lab at Hong Kong Baptist University. His long-time partnership with Marek Poliks – DisintegratorAI – has led to the publication of an upcoming book, several CDs, journal articles, and the exhibition of interactive artworks in international venues.
Marek Poliks is an artist, engineer, and theorist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He works with machine learning as applied to sound, digital media, robotics, and sculpture. Marek leads technology at the design firm Polytope, where he builds interactive infrastructure for clients like the Dubai Future Foundation. His long-time partnership with Roberto Alonso – DisintegratorAI – has led to CDs for NEOS and Creotz, articles for Leonardo and Organised Sound, a GAN-and Transformer-driven raw audio synthesis engine (‘Demiurge’), a real-time behaviour-responsive data interface (‘Archon’), two soft robots (‘Hydra’ and ‘Polyp’), and an upcoming book with Taylor & Francis. Marek has a PhD from Harvard, an ASCAP award in music journalism, and a career as an artist exhibiting around the globe.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationItaly
PublisherMA/IN Festival [Italy]
Media of outputOther
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Music


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