The Aesthetics of Bio-Machines and the Question of Life

This conference aims to bring together a wide range of scholars, researchers and artists who explore life-simulating technologies from an aesthetic perspective. Today we are immersed in life-simulating digital technologies, such as virtual assistants (Siri, Alexa), generative self-learning computer systems (chatbots), and adaptive robots that use artificial intelligence to learn from their surroundings (robot vacuum cleaners). In new and intriguing ways, these digital technologies raise the question of who and what is alive, and how we as humans cohabit with them. Indeed, physicists, engineers, and biologists are currently speaking about a notion of “life 3.0,” which affords life status to self-learning artificial intelligence. This humanities-based conference will investigate these “life-forms” from an aesthetic perspective by focusing on how we may understand the sensory capabilities of such technologies and the way these are negotiated in literature, art and film. 

The conference will be held physically from June 13, 2024 (10:00-17:00) and June 14, 2024 (10:00 – 14:00) at the University of Copenhagen. The conference is organized in close collaboration with the University of Southern Denmark and is based on the research cluster “Bio-machines and the Question of Life” supported The Velux Foundations.