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Bubble Worlds

About the project

Bubble Worlds brings together computational art, soft robotics, and the experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic. This project has been a co-creation between computational artist Duncan Paterson, soft robotics researchers Azadeh Shariati and Helge Wurdemann and graduates of Code Your Future (CYF), a non-profit organisation that trains some of the most deprived members of society to become web developers.

The collaborators set out to explore the effects of the pandemic and multiple lockdowns on the lives of the CYF graduates, many of whom were potentially already isolated in society and could be impacted profoundly by the societal changes of the past two years. They wanted to explore how the skills of artists and researchers could collaboratively create work that tells stories and expresses feelings in new ways.

Through collaborative workshops, including Creative Coding, Audio/Poetry and Soft Robotics, the group chose to focus on the opportunities brought about through the Covid-19 lockdowns: to study, to apply oneself, to improve lives, get qualified, look for jobs, get fit, spend time outdoors. This is probably reflective of the CYF cohort - motivated people, in the process of learning and self-improving.

The project has led to the creation of a cocoon like structure that embodies these “bubble worlds” created for this self preservation. During the exhibition visitors will be invited to enter the bubble world, a space which breaths and mimics the calm and empathy of a natural space.

Information on the project and the development can be found on the Bubble Worlds website.

About the artists

white man in black t-shirt, black cap and blue face mask looks to camera
Duncan Paterson is an intra-active artist, recently graduated with an MA in Computational Arts from Goldsmiths, University of London. His practice uses software, physical computing assemblages and living things to make immersive installations that challenge received anthropocentric ideas of the human/tech relationship and to explore alternative tech/bio futures. He is also part of the 0rphan Drift Art Team, working on Project ISCRI: an AI coded by an octopus, in partnership with the Serpentine Creative AI Lab.

woman with white skin and long brown hair smiles and looks to camera
Azadeh Shariati is a Research Fellow in Soft Robotics and Haptics at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UCL. In 2021, she was awarded UCL Healthcare Engineering Impact Fellow (IHE). Azadeh’s focus during her education was on designing, modeling, and fabricating complex robotic systems. She was a research fellow from 2016 to 2018 in the field of cognitive and social robotics at Sharif University of Technology. Azadeh put together her engineering experience and social science to join the Intelligent Mobility Group/Lab (IM@UCL) in 2019. In the same year, she joined the Soft Haptics & Robotics Group/Lab at UCL as a research fellow focusing on developing innovative stiffness-controllable mechanisms and soft finger prostheses. Currently, Azadeh is interested in how robotic technologies, especially soft robots, can physically or socially interact with humans.

white man with short brown hair and stubble looks to camera, dressed in shirt and suit jacket
Helge Wurdemann is a roboticist and Associate Professor of Robotics leading research on soft haptics and robotics at UCL Mechanical Engineering. His group focuses on the hardware design and application of soft material robotic systems that have the ability to change their shape and stiffness on demand bridging the gap between traditional rigid and entirely soft robots. He creates and embeds innovative stiffness-controllable mechanisms as well as combine advanced Artificial Intelligence with control strategies in robotic prototypes emerging from his lab.

Join the festival

Free, Open daily: 
The Art Pavilion, Mile End Park, E3 4QY
29 April - 8 May, 11:00 - 18:00

NO BOOKING NEEDED. More details on the location and accessibility.


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