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Summer 2022: Robotics Art Residency: Kathleen McDermott, GRASP at PERCH and Weitzman School of Design, “Absurdist Electronics: An artist talk and hands-on workshop for considering stranger robotic futures”

June 28, 2022 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

*This seminar was held at the Pennovation Center in Room 133 as well as virtually…



Kathleen McDermott will discuss her practice of hacking, DIYing, and crafting with consumer and hobbyist electronics, and demonstrate the experiments with kinematics she has developed with mentorship from the Kod Lab. Central to McDermott’s work, is the idea that absurdity and play can be useful ways to reframe our relationships to technology and productivity. Attendees will be invited to participate in a design workshop to think speculatively about the future of robots and their environmental impact–– exploring how plausible futures and desirable futures can intersect.


Kathleen McDermott

Kathleen McDermott

Kathleen McDermott is an interdisciplinary artist with a background in installation, prop-making and sculpture, based in Brooklyn, NY. She combines her knowledge of fabrication with open source hardware to build a language of absurdity that merges new media, design, performance, and video. She is interested in unproductive technologies that extend and highlight embodied knowledge, and that resist control. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, The Tides Institute and Museum of Art in Maine, the Wende Museum in LA, and Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria; and has been featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Fast Company, and Dezeen.

Robotics Art Residency Program

The GRASP Lab at The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Weitzman School of Design collaborates on the Robotics Art Residency program that brings together faculty and students to explore the use of robotic technologies in addressing contemporary social, cultural, and environmental challenges. Three artists, designers, engineers or creatives from any discipline will spend four weeks at the GRASP Lab at PERCH, during which each will develop a creative project with resources offered by PERCH and the Department of Fine Arts and Design.

The Robotics Art Residency was awarded a 2020 Collaborative Provosts Interdisciplinary Grant from the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation and is sponsored by the GRASP Lab, Kod*lab and The Weitzman School of Design.


June 28, 2022
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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Pennovation Center, Seminar Room 133
3401 Grays Ferry Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19146
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