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I.C.U. (Intensive Care Unit), 2021

5th International Digital Art Biennial 

Arsenal Contemporary Art Montreal 

11.19.2021 - 02.13.2022



Based in Montreal, Bill Vorn is active in the field of Robotic Art since 1992. His installation and performance projects involve robotics and motion control, sound, lighting, video and cybernetic processes. He pursues research and creation on Artificial Life and Agent Technologies through artistic work based on the Aesthetics of Artificial Behaviors.

He holds a Ph.D. degree in Communication Studies from UQAM (Montreal) for his thesis on Artificial Life as a Media. He teaches Electronic Arts in the Department of Studio Arts at Concordia University (Intermedia program) where he holds the rank of Full Professor.

His work has been presented in multiple international events, including Ars Electronica, ISEA, DEAF, Sonar, Art Futura, EMAF and Artec. He has been awarded a Numix award (Montreal, 2016), the Vida 2.0 award (1999, Madrid), the Leprecon Award for Interactivity (1998, New York), the Prix Ars Electronica Distinction award (1996, Linz) and the International Digital Media Award (1996, Toronto). 


4 Humanoid robots, life support systems, lights, audio, haze

I.C.U. (Intensive Care Unit) is a robotic installation staging bedridden, sick, and suffering machines that react to the presence of viewers in a disjointed medical allegory where the mechanical creatures and their life support system start to move with pain and struggle, stretch, curl up, dislocate and resume form. This piece was conceived around the more general themes of an “ontology of the machine” and the “aesthetics of artificial behaviors” in a perspective based on the visual aspect of the machines and the programming of their reactions. Through the metaphor of an intensive care unit, this installation suggests alienation (an estrangement of reality) by an artistic appropriation of robotics and automation technologies. The strength of the simulacrum is emphasized by the inevitable instinct of anthropomorphism and projection of our internal sensations, a reflex triggered by any responsive phenomenon that challenges our senses.

This project is produced with the help of the Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec (CALQ).

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