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Prof. Simon Penny, UC Irvine

Director – Mechatronic Art Lab
University of California, Irvine

Simon Penny is an artist, teacher and theorist with a longstanding focus on emerging technologies and on embodied and situated aspects of artistic practice. He explores – in artistic and scholarly work and technical research – problems encountered when computational technologies are interfaced with cultural practices whose first commitment is to the engineering of persuasive perceptual immediacy and affect. Penny has built interactive installations and robotic art since the mid 1980s. His longstanding concern for embodied and situated aspects of aesthetic experience, along with a critical analysis of computer culture, has led to a focus on what of he refers to as postcogntivist approaches to cognition – the focus of his book Making Sense: Cognition, Computing, Art and Embodiment (MIT press 2017).  He was director of A Body of Knowledge: Embodied Cognition and the Arts conference UCI 2016, and An Ocean of Knowledge: Pacific Seafaring, Sustainability and Cultural Survival at UCI in 2017.

As Professor of Art and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon (1993-2000) he developed VR and Robotics projects. He then went on to found the Arts Computation Engineering (ACE) graduate program at the University of California Irvine, 2001-2012. He was Labex International Professor, University Paris8 and ENSAD in 2014. He was visiting professor in media theory, Cognitive Systems and Interactive Media masters, University PompeuFabra, Barcelona, 2006-2013.  Penny is currently professor of Electronic Art and Design (Dept of Art) at University of California, Irvine, with appointments in the dept of Music and in Informatics (School of Information and Computer Science). More at