Robots are not only contemporary figures of fascination; they have been a source of awe, intrigue, and trepidation for several centuries. In Machine Dreams: A Symposium on Robots, Arts, and Difference, we approach robots and other machines through a creative and critical lens, with a special emphasis on the exploration of difference making. As our keynote speaker, historian Minsoo Kang writes in his monograph, Sublime Dreams of Living Machines: “Ultimately the real importance of the automaton idea lies in the crucial role it has played as a conceptual tool with which Western culture has pondered the very nature and boundaries of humanity.”[i] In our gathering, we are interested in the question of the human, and its juxtaposition, transgression, and entanglement with the machine.

The participants of Machine Dreams identify social, aesthetic, and futurist questions emerging alongside technical innovation at the intersection of robots, arts, and difference.The participants in this symposium explore the possibility and limits of the intersection between robots and the arts. In doing so, we provide a set of concerns that interacts with intellectual, artistic, and ethical questions on robots, machines, and technology.

This symposium will include a special focus on participant development of respective papers and creative works on robots, machines, arts, and difference through discussion, collaboration, and creation. All events will be held at UCLA. We invite you to collaborate in machine dreaming together.

Due to commencement ceremonies, parking will be limited and traffic at UCLA and in the Westwood area will be high volume.

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