Simon Penny Photo
Segal Seminar Series

Simon Penny

February 23, 2010, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center
ITW (1.350)
2133 Sheridan Rd., Evanston, IL 60208

Designing Embodied Interaction: Aesthetic, Technical and Theoretical Issues


Over more than two decades, Simon Penny has pursued the simultaneous development of Interactive Artworks and the design and construction of technologies for Embodied Interaction, utilising Machine Vision and Robotics technologies. This has involved fundamental technical R+D directed by a radically Interdisciplinary negotiation of Artistic goals and sensibilities with Engineering realities, informed by emerging Cognitive Science research and a Phenomenological critique. The talk will take video documentation of three major works (Petit Mal, 1993-5, Traces, 1997-9, and Fugitive II, 2000-2004) as starting points for the discussion.


Simon Penny is an artists and theorist in the fields of Digital Cultural Practices, Embodied Interaction and Interactive Art. He built the autonomous robotic artwork Petit Mal in the early 1990s. His robotic and Interactive installations address questions of embodied interaction. He is Professor of Arts and Engineering at University of California Irvine and architect and founding director of the interdisciplinary graduate program in Arts, Computation and Engineering (ACE, see He curated Machine Culture (arguably the first international survey of interactive art) at SIGGRAPH 93. He edited the anthology Critical Issues in Electronic Media (SUNY Press 1995). Penny was director of Digital Arts and Culture conference 2009 (DAC09).

Contact Phillip Jacob at 847-467-3533 or for further questions.