The inaugural work of the Artist-in-Residence (AiR) Program "Enter the Hyper-Scientific" of the College of Humanities (CDH), Riccardo Giacconi’s Animal, is the result of intensive research around artistic and scientific questions at the boundary between human and machine, carried out in EPFL’s robotics laboratories.
Part of Giacconi’s project Rational and Irrational Numbers, the video explores the concept of animation. Creating a parallel between the “uncanny valley” (Masahiro Mori, 1970) of the ancient tradition of puppetry and recent technological developments in robotics and artificial intelligence, Animal is inspired by a series of conversations with scientists and researchers. Footage from the EPFL alternates with images from the Carlo Colla & Figli Marionette Company in Milan and other sources from the artist’s archive.
The work enables a leap of faith, a suspension of disbelief, as it reconciles the hyper-contemporary and the ancient in an enigmatic sequence, generating in the resonance and the distance between the two worlds a broader reflection on technology and its scientific and philosophical implications.
- Riccardo Giacconi
Riccardo Giacconi (IT) is an artist and documentarian based in Boston. His practice investigates narrative forms through an evidential paradigm, drawing from micro-factual details and clues. His work has been exhibited in various institutions, such as Grazer Kunstverein (Graz), ar/ge kunst (Bolzano), MAC (Belfast), WUK Kunsthalle Exnergasse (Vienna), FRAC Champagne-Ardenne (Reims), tranzitdisplay (Prague), and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo (Turin). He has presented his films at several festivals, including the New York Film Festival, Venice International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Visions du Réel (Nyon), and FID Marseille. He cofounded the collective listening festival Helicotrema and the audio storytelling studio Botafuego. He is professor of practice at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, Boston.
- Enter the Hyper-Scientific
Initiated by the EPFL College of Humanities (CDH), amplified by EPFL Pavilions, and now inaugurating a partnership with the City of Lausanne, the EPFL-CDH Artist-in-Residence (AiR) Program "Enter the Hyper-Scientific" reflects the CDH mission of fostering transdisciplinary encounters and collaborations between artists and EPFL’s scientific community. The program invites professional Swiss and international artists for three-month residencies to realize innovative and visionary projects at the intersection of art, science, and advanced technologies.