Questo sito utilizza cookie tecnici, analytics e di terze parti.
Proseguendo nella navigazione accetti l'utilizzo dei cookie.

Preferenze cookies

Robots, Ballet, and the Brain-Computer Interface

Humans, Post-humans, Machine   
31 January 2022, 6pm   

The second session in the series Humans, Posthumans, and Machines, curated by Katia Pizzi (Director, ICI London) and Kate Foster (Institute of Modern Languages Research), in collaboration with the Institute of Modern Languages Research.   

With Ben Russell (Science Museum, London) on ‘You, Robot: Bridging the Human-Machine Interface’; Katherine Shingler (Universities of Nottingham and Exeter) on ‘The Human and the Machine in the Ballet mécanique’; and Luca Viganò (King’s College London) on ‘The Internet of Neurons’.

In 1648, René Descartes described the human body as a machine, and suggested that the mind might be separated from it. But what have others made of the relationship between bodies, minds, and machines? For centuries, humans have made machines in their image, such as Leonardo’s automa cavaliere which could stand, sit and even lift its visor. And for even longer, we have imagined machinic bodies which resemble us, from tales of moving statues in Antiquity to the golden automata who supposedly guard the lost treasures of Ancient Rome.

Machines that look human are one thing, but what about humans who behave like machines? Machines can repeat the same activity faultlessly hundreds or thousands of times without needing to rest and in modern European culture, this led filmmakers and visual artists to represent the human as mechanised, further blurring the boundaries between human and machine. More recently, the possibility of connecting our brains to machines – previously the stuff of sci fi imaginings – is ever closer, as developments in technology and neurology might soon allow us to connect to the internet just our brains.

Join us for a stimulating presentation of three talks on these ideas and the issues they raise.

Ben Russell has worked for the Science Museum since 1999, and been curator of mechanical engineering since 2003. He wrote James Watt: Making the World Anew (Reaktion 2014) and edited Robots (Scala, 2017), and was lead curator for the museum’s East Hall (2005) and Watt’s Workshop (2011) galleries, as well as temporary exhibitions ‘Cosmonauts’ (2015) and ‘Robots’ (2017-2021). Ben has recently drawn up plans to refresh the East Hall and publish an accompanying book, and is presently lead curator for a new gallery, working title Engineers, based around the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, opening in early 2023.

Katherine Shingler is an Honorary Research Fellow in Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Nottingham, and coordinator of the EUniverCities Network at the University of Exeter. Her previous research focused on text-image relations in the early twentieth century. Her current research looks at machine aesthetics in avant-garde visual art.

Luca Viganò is Professor at the Department of Informatics of King’s College London, UK, where he heads the Cybersecurity Group. His research focuses on formal analysis of cybersecurity and privacy, and on explainable cybersecurity, where, in addition to more formal approaches, he has been investigating how different kinds of artworks can be used to explain cybersecurity and how telling (i.e., explaining notions in a formal, technical way) can be paired with showing through visual storytelling or other forms of storytelling. Luca is also a playwright and screenwriter. His works have been published and produced in Italy, the UK and Russia.


The Italian Cultural Institute has taken the decision to verify attendee Covid-19 status on arrival at the event. Adults will need to demonstrate either:
• proof of completion of a full course of vaccination, or
• proof of negative lateral flow test result taken within 48hr.
Face covering is required during the event, unless exempt. Sanitiser will be provided.


imlr logo


  • Organizzato da: ICI London