Stanza artwork. Robots and art.

Title: Lost In Translation.

This is a custom made robot that responds to a series of texts and makes drawings unique to each reader. Readers are invited to step up to the lectern and read into a microphone from a specially made book called Lost In Translation. The book consists of passages from The Bible , The Torah, The Quran and a take away menu. The text and voice are interpreted via software and a robot is set into action on a custom made plinth to interpret what it all means.

The robot interprets the text and the voice to creates a painting on canvas of the results. The work questions not only the meaning and interpretation of text but just who controls our understanding of the outputs and indeed what is Lost In Translation. This is a very playful user friendly work and actively engages the audience not only to think about the text but the meaning of how automation and networked technology is changing the control of understanding.

We live in an age of automation and our trust in machines governs our actions and reason. The world of machines are becoming more and more autonomous and the information they present difficult to trust. But how do we trust our sources? Sources can have very different approaches, trusted behind the information they offer.

The texts we read today have different intentions and interpretations and our understand differs from the the original. Indeed texts have to be interpreted and parsed by out brains for understanding. A each sentence is broken down into its component parts of speech an explanation of the form, function, and syntactical relationship of each part so that we gain some meaning.

Technical Overview: The process of controlling the robot is: Analyse speech—> transmit commands to robot —> robot draws lines.
How it works. The Robot is controlled over an 868 Mhz serial data wireless link, from a custom app. written using Xojo. The app. hooks into the OSX speech recognition system to extract words as the user is reading the text. The words are analysed for alphabetical order and length, and these values are used as indexes into a command table. The command table stores the data that describes a robot movement, or set of movements. These are sent in real-time to the robot and it moves and draws patterns. If the robot encounters a wall it moves away a random amount, and then carries on executing the commands.

The user interacts with the robot in the following manner: Standing on a pressure mat in front of the microphone cause the app. to start listening for speech input. The app. makes a short beep when it is ready. As the user reads the text, the text appears in a field in the app. to show what is being read. When the user steps off the mat, the app. stops the robot and stops listening for speech input.

Exhbition Overview:

This work is available for touring and can be shown on various contexts. It now has two robots one is a spare for back up.

Keywords:- Confusion, meaning, uncertainty, intention, translation, art and robotics.

Commissioned by Milton Keynes Libraries and funded by Arts Council England as part of The Digitalis Programme

More Info:

Lost in Translation By Stanza from Stanza on Vimeo.


Lost in Translation tour dates 2015 of all libraries

Saturday 12 September    Central Library all day

Saturday 3 October  Kingston Library 10-12noon   

Saturday 3 October   Central Library 2-4pm

Thursday 8October    Central Library all day

Tuesday 27 October     Olney Library 10-12noon       

Tuesday 27 October     Bletchley Library 2-4pm

Wednesday 28 October    Westcroft Library 10-12noon   

Wednesday 28 October  Newport Pagnell Library 2-4pm

Thursday 29 October    Stony Stratford   10 -12 noon    

Thursday 29 October Woburn Sands Library  2-4pm

Friday 30 October    Wolverton Library 10 -12 noon

Stanza artwork. Robot art and artificial intelligence.


Stanza artwork

Stanza artwork. Art and robotics.



Set up Notes Lost in Translation

Follow setup diagram supplied. HERE
Gaffa tape any cable runs across the floor.
Set up computer monitor so to be visible to users
Pay attention to tidying the cables as well as possible.
Ensure robot second battery is on charge once used

Extra equipment required
Gaffa Tape for cable security Extension cables Table for computer monitor
Robot batteries are charged
Pens are in good condition
Canvas supply

Special notes- trouble shooting

After multiple use - and also periods of down time - the Mac Mini needs a hard reboot. This will become apparent when the mat is stood upon and the microphone icon on the screen does not activate. Also sometimes the software continues to work after the user steps off the mat. This signifies a reboot! The hard reboot action takes approx a minute to complete.

When changing pens you must pay attention to securing the pen to the correct height.