Elena Knox

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Actroid Series I


The fem-bot is usually unable to speak for herself. All across the mythological landscape she is possessed and passive... not part of the conversation.

Actroid Series I presents the world-first made-for-video scripted scenes of an Actroid being verbal: the gynoid ‘speaks its mind’. She, or it, or she, performs her own critique.

The videos performatively provoke the urgent revision of an aesthetic stereotype that is currently being reinscribed at the frontline of high-tech humanoid R+D.

Elena is an emerging artist of great potential.
Assoc. Prof. Mari Velonaki, Director, Creative Robotics Lab, National Institute for Experimental Arts

Elena Knox’s development of machinic mediation in her work is forging new, profoundly affecting connections between humanoid robotics, performance and feminist aesthetics.
Das Superpaper

Six installed performance videos feature Actroid-F, or Geminoid-F, a very humanlike robot developed in 2011 by Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories in Osaka, Japan. The videos wittily deconstruct the robot’s stereotypic performance of the gendered 'hostess'.

The series continues Knox’s pioneering embodied critique of the aesthetic evolution of the service gynoid. It focuses on the social future of fem-bots, specifically anxieties about ageing and mortality (Pathetic Fallacy), sexual services (Canny), robots taking people's jobs (Occupation), cyborg monstrosity (Lamassu Kentaurosu Wagyu), ethnic borders (Radical Hospitality), and brainwashing (Comfortable and Alive).

  Knox understands the the pathos of all human/nonhuman life and she understands the power of humour to progress an intellectual feminist conversation.
Das Superpaper

Actroid Series I is created with collaborators as listed under the separate works.

The series formed part of a practice-based PhD at UNSW Art & Design (formerly the College of Fine Art, University of New South Wales). It was supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award. The research received the Dean's Award for Outstanding Research, 2014.

Working with Actroid-F was made possible by Mari Velonaki through the Creative Robotics Lab, National Institute for Experimental Arts, with the permission of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan.


Actroid Series I at UNSW Galleries as part of exhibition Beyond Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, January 2015.

Beyond Beyond the Valley of the Dolls user experience


The works reviewed by Das Superpaper | Contemporary Art