Empathy Swarm 24 November 2018 - 3 February 2019

Empathy Swarm_Katrin Hochschuh and Adam Donovan

Please note that this work will only be on display until 2 December! Afterwards it will be replaced by Antisocial Swarm Robots by Anna Dumitriu & Alex May.

While the book The World Without Us imagines a world without humans and the scenarios that lead us there, Empathy Swarm focuses on creating a system in which man and machine co-exist and learn from each other in order to sustain or even lay the basis of creating a future world worth living in.

10 autonomous robots form an emergent system that acts as a human machine interface and creates an ecosystem of man-machine cohabitation, thus laying the foundations to any kind of future scenario in which we need machines to help us survive.

The swarm is a society of robotic creatures based on the equality of all members and constantly negotiates and balances the needs of all individuals. In its role as a human machine interface the robotic system is simultaneously activating and reacting to the emotions of the human actant which informs the swarm’s movement which at the same instant generates the emotional response of the human counterpart and thus shows the interdependence of both.

On another level, Empathy Swarm defines its very own definition of what it means to be a utility apparatus, which is based on the idea of machine education, leading away from an optimization concept of human set goals in the form of machine learning and implements the idea of self-drive and self-determination of the robotic machine instead, that does not evolve from a position of suppression and machine revolution against the human supremacy, but instead fosters the careful convergence of both species into an ecosystem and society of empathy and compassion for each other and among themselves. The human and robotic mind are merged into an extended hive mind that is a source of information and inspiration for future societies and can be utilised as a preventative medicine for a dystopian future.

Empathy Swarm

Katrin Hochschuh & Adam Donovan
Germany/Austria / Croatia, 2018
Robots, cameras, 15 cm

This project is supported through an EMAP/EMARE artists’ residency at Kontejner in Zagreb (Croatia) with support of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.


This item is part of

IMPAKT Exhibition: A World Without Us

Other items in this program