While promoted with shiny campaigns that feature amazing capabilities, many tech innovations quickly become obsolete or don’t even reach maturity. What happens once the hype is over and the hyperbolic promises aren’t delivered? What remains of the slick devices after the manufacturer’s servers and support systems are shut down? The innovation zombies are lurking…

During the Evening of the Living Dead, Dani Ploeger will present his living dead robot project-in-progress and exchange ideas in conversation with two experts in the field of consumer electronics from very different backgrounds: Austrian filmmaker and ‘Leitnerd’ Johannes Grenzfurthner, who is also artistic director of Vienna-based art-technology-philosophy group Monochrom, and Nadine Kooiker, Global Brand Creation Manager at Philips in Amsterdam.  Moderation by Boris Debackere and Lija Groenewoud van Vliet.


When? June 14th, 2019
Time: 20:00hr
Where? V2_lab voor Unstable Media
Eendrachtsstraat 10, Rotterdam

More background

In the past few years, we have seen a hype around Internet of Things applications to control and monitor the home. In this context, consumer electronics multinationals as well as start-ups have launched interactive devices that combine slick high-tech design with a nostalgic sense of ‘warm’ social interaction. However, most of these robots have failed to draw much interest beyond an early-adopters audience, and many start-up projects have disappeared as quickly as they emerged. After the supporting servers of the – often still developing – projects have shut down, the robots live on like innovation zombies of sorts. While they look like harbingers of a sci-fi future, their day-to-day operation tends to be cumbersome and erratic. Why have hyped products like Jibo, Kuri, Cozmo and Keecker all folded, despite broad and enthusiastic media attention? What do these living dead products tell us about our intimate relationships with consumer technology? How might all this relate to ideas and fears around our own decaying bodies in digital culture?

Drawing from the V2_ archive of performance art with robotics, and in collaboration with the organisation In4Art, artist Dani Ploeger is working on the reanimation of a Keecker, a domestic multi-media robot developed by a now bankrupt French start-up. The robot will be reprogrammed to be controlled with an off-the-shelf medical device to treat faecal incontinence. Instead of celebrating the polished world of futuristic IoT technology, the robot will explore the grotesque, uncanny and unsettling aspects of life with machines.

Photo: “Discontinued Keecker entertainment robot”.