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“Are we at the onset of a new, collaborative imagination — of radical new intersubjectivities?
What does it mean to collaborate with the spaces we inhabit, the tools we build? Where does “I” end and “we” begin?”
Sougwen Chung, Artist, on her website.
Drawing Operations is an ongoing series of human-machine drawing performances developed by artist Sougwen Chung with different robots named D.O.U.G. (Drawing Operations Unit: Generation __). Through the process of co-creative art-making, Sougwen interrogates notions of authorship, agency, learning, and modes of sensing, exploring emerging forms of collaboration between biological and artificial systems.
In D.O.U.G._1 (2015), a small robotic arm uses a mounted camera with computer vision to mimic the artist’s hand drawing gestures and synchronously draw along her. D.O.U.G._2 (2017) is an exploration of robotic memory and machine learning as robotic arms generate sketches based on neural nets trained on Sougwen’s drawings gestures. More recently, in Omnia per Omnia (2018) she collaborates with D.O.U.G._L.A.S. (Live Autonomous Systems), a swarm of robots trained with motion data extracted from New York City’s publicly available surveillance footage. In the performance, the lines made by drawing are intertwined with the lines made by everyday movements in the city, shedding light onto the constant process of monitoring and plural sensing in the urban space. These creative processes are presented to the audience as live performances in which artist and machines form a composite of drawing gestures and speculative narratives as seen in Drawing Operations Duet.