Exhibition: Whilst We Were Here…by Patrick Tresset

Running Time: Wednesday 18 Oct 2017 - Sunday 7 Jan 2018, 10am - 9pm
Price: FREE

This is a free event and open to all, so no ticket is required.

About this event

Patrick Tresset is an artist who develops and presents theatrical installations with robotic agents as actors. Tresset’s installations use computational systems that introduce artistic, expressive and obsessive aspects to robots’ behaviour. Tresset develops robots and autonomous computational systems to produce series of drawings, paintings and animations.

The robots present in the space act as if they were artists in their own right, producing images that are not pre-programmed, but an autonomous interpretation influenced by the robot’s qualities and faults.

In the exhibition at Watermans, Patrick Tresset will present two new installations titled Whilst we were here, Human Study #5 and RNP-FB, Human Study #6.

On a large rectangular table a duo of ambidextrous mobile robots (RNP-A*) scribble continuously on a large sheet of paper and occasionally observe with curiosity the visitors. What they depict are the environment from their own perspective and visual memories of events, especially the audience’s physical presence.

RNP-FB (Human Study #6) is a new six armed robot dedicated to draw full length depictions of human bodies, here, the visitors’ presence as perceived by the RNP-A’s. Using machine learning, during the length of the exhibition the drawings produced will evolve from the representation of the individual to the depiction of a human archetype.

*Earlier versions of the RNP-A were first featured in the “Before the beginning and after the end” an installation, the result of a collaboration between Goshka Macuga and Patrick Tresset and exhibited as part of Macuga’s solo show at the Prada Foundation in Milan in 2016.

‘The robots I develop are influenced by research into human behaviour, more specifically how human beings depict other humans, how humans perceive artworks and how humans relate to robots. The artifacts produced by these computational systems can also be considered as studies of the human.

The original aim driving my work was to create autonomous systems capable of producing images, which have a similar emotional and aesthetic impact on a spectator as human­ made artworks. It is important here to stress that the aim is not to invent systems that are capable of drawing precisely like a human, but for the drawing to have a certain aesthetic effect on the observer.

I constantly work on the computational system controlling the robot’s drawing behaviour, and for each exhibition the systems are tuned again until they produce what I consider to be interesting drawings. Using autonomous robots to draw from observation enables me to explore further the drawing practice.’

Things to Do

Exhibition launch event:

Wednesday 18 October, 18:30-20:30

As part of the Whilst we were here… exhibition launch we are very pleased to present a special event, Patrick Tresset in conversation with Dr Nicholas Lambert, in partnership with Computer Arts Society.

The conversation will take place from 18:45 to 19:30 at Watermans Theatre followed by drinks. Click HERE to book a free place.

Gallery Tour

Join Patrick for a tour of the gallery on Sat 11 Nov at 6.30pm to hear more about his work. This event is FREE adn is part of our Digital Performance Weekender.

Workshops – SOLD OUT

Work with leading artists Damien Borowik and Patrick Tresset in a series of 5 workshops, Whilst we were here… Computer Drawing – Saturdays 21, 28 October, 4, 11 and 18 Novmeber 2-5pm, exploring machine and computational drawing, as part of our new exhibition. A full outline of the workshops and how to book can be found HERE.

About the artist

Originally a painter, Tresset is part of a generation of artists coming out of Goldsmiths’ Computing department. In 2004 Tresset joined Goldsmiths for an MSc degree in Arts Computing where from 2009 until 2012 he co­directed the AIkon­II project, a project which aimed to model and understand the sketching process. He also developed and taught the creative robotics module at Goldsmiths. In 2013 Patrick was a Senior Fellow at the Zukunftskolleg, University of Konstanz working with Prof. Deussen. Tresset has published research papers in the fields of computational aesthetics, social robotics, drawing research and AI (Artificial Intelligence).

Tresset’s work has been exhibited in association with major museums and institutions such as The Pompidou Center, Museum of Israel, Victoria & Albert Museum (London), MMCA (Seoul), BOZAR (Brussels), Prada Foundation (Milan) and at events such as Ars Electronica, Update_5, WRO2015, Merge festival.


Image caption: Installation view, Before the beginning and after the end, Patrick Tresset and Goshka Macuga, Prada Foundation, Photo: Sabina Tupan.

This is a free event and open to all, so no ticket is required.


Click here to find full details for those with access requirements.

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