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Kirsty Boyle
photo of Kirsty

Kirsty Boyle (NSW) undertook a Synapse 3 residency in 2007 with the Artificial Intelligence Lab (Switzerland).

Kirsty drew upon her extensive knowledge of Karakuri Ningyo (Japanese mechanical doll making) to develop girltron, a girl robot with a mechanical performance-based AI system. Girltron highlights the importance of fusing science with broader cultural and social concerns and recognises the role tradition plays in contemporary technology. Kirsty’s chief collaborator for the project will be AI specialist, Dr Lijin Aryananda.

Kirsty Boyle is an Australian artist whose passion for robots has driven her to travel the world in order to work with other like-minded artists, puppeteers, animators and scientists. Kirsty’s work examines robots as subjects of culture with particular emphasis on how we experience and personalise our interactions with them. The historical and cultural aspects of robots in society continues to be a major theme that informs her artistic practice.

Her practice is truly interdisciplinary, encompassing skills in sculpture, theatrical performance, film and animation, digital arts and design, mechanical and electrical engineering and artificial intelligence. She has presented her work via various mediums, primarily via exhibition, but also television, radio and magazine interviews, to delivering lectures at educational institutions and facilitating forums and workshops internationally.

During 2002, Kirsty began study under Mr Tamaya Shobei, a ninth generation Karakuri Ningyo craftsman and last remaining mechanical doll Master in Japan. She is currently his only student, and the only woman to have ever been trained in the tradition.

Subsequently her artwork was featured in an educational robotics book produced by Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (the German Air and Space Agency), of which 180,000 copies were distributed to every high school student in Germany. Her website was featured in the AI Lectures from Tokyo, an online education initiative at the University of Tokyo, Japan and is also a featured resource with the NASA robotics education initiative. The website is included in a growing number of Universities’ introductory Artificial Intelligence courses worldwide and she is now considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on Karakuri.

She has been based in Zurich for the past three years, completing an artist residency at the AI Lab, University of Zurich and became the first non-Swiss member of SGMK (Swiss Mechatronic Art Society).

In 2009 she completed residencies at MedienKunstLabor @ Kunsthaus Graz and Medialab-Prado, Madrid, where she co-founded; a research group dedicated to open investigation and experimentation with DIY production methods and uses of materials.

In association with Dock18 she developed love the robots – a showcase combining media art, network performance, informal lecture and discussion centred around the theme of robots, contemporary art, culture and society. The hybrid format combines practice, theory and an exhibition showcase, serving as a catalyst for an international network of collaborations and contacts among local and international artists. Its goal is to promote contemporary robotics arts, thus contributing to the development of communities of cultural producers in this field.

In 2010 she produced tree ceremony , commissioned by the Museum Tinguely and Kunsthaus Graz for the Robot Dreams exhibition, touring 2010 – 2011.

She has recently returned to Australia to begin a Master of Arts (Research) with the REMNANT/EMERGENCY ArtLab supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council (Inter Arts), in collaboration with the Australian Research Council, QUT Creative Industries, the UTS Research Centre for Contemporary Design Practices and Human-Centred Technology Design, NYU Environmental Health Clinic (USA), Art Center Nabi (South Korea) and many others.
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