Thinking through robotic imaginaries
Lichtsuchende is a society of static robots: autonomous to some degree, exhibiting social behaviour and interacting with humans. Responsive and communicative, they perform creature-hood. We use this as a vehicle to question the relationship with their designers, and the reconfiguration of design methodologies around the bringing forth of situated, responsive things, that possess a sense of being in the world. Their quasi-creaturehood situates them between made objects and living beings. We are interested in how we design for the lifeworld of creatures who do not yet exist, how much we can support their being rather than imposing our will on their matter. We argue for a sense of stewardship not ownership – a responsibility to the artefacts, made clear by their creaturehood. We look after them, hold robot surgeries, recognise personality in their defects, and support their life course from installation to installation, as their society grows and changes. We are interested in the pivotal moments in this journey, where design feels as if it is led by their needs rather than our desires: designing with and for the things. In particular, we are interested in beginning to understand the unplanned imaginaries latent in their socialisation, while acknowledging unavoidable design biases.