Handshake: A Conversation On Non-Industrial Robots with AATB

Celebrate the launch of Handshake, a virtual interactive robotic installation, with an online conversation between the designers and NY-based design critic and curator.

Event Details




Thursday, May 28, 2020 | 12:30pm - 1:30pm in Boston 6:30pm - 7:30pm in Switzerland

The installation  is now live, come shake virtual hands!

Responding to the new reality of “social distancing” due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and reflecting on the potential to overcome physical distance through technology, the Swiss design duo AATB (Andrea Anner and Thibault Brevet) have developed Handshake, an interactive robotic installation that invites participants into a moment of connection and digital intimacy.

We are celebrating the launch of this virtual interactive robotic installation Handshake with an online conversation between the designers AATB and NY-based design critic and curator Roddy Schrock from Eyebeam.

This conversation will focus on the development of AATB’s work at the intersection of design and robotics and feature a conversation about the future of automation and robotics. We will also reflect on the role that design and designers can play in the future of automation and robotics. AATB will also include a brief demo of the virtual installation, which will be accessible to the public from 28 May – 30 June 2020.

Join us for this session on Zoom (you will receive the link upon registration) for a lively artist’s talk and stimulating discussion.

Program (EST)

12:30 pm — Start and Welcome by Alexandra Müller-Crepon and Matthias Dettling
12:35 pm — A Conversation between Roddy Schrock and AATB (including a demo of Handshake)
1:10 pm — Q&A with the Audience
1:30 pm — Close of event

6:30 pm — Start and Welcome by Alexandra Müller-Crepon and Matthias Dettling
6:35 pm — A Conversation between Roddy Schrock and AATB (including a demo of Handshake)
7:10 pm — Q&A with the Audience
7:30 pm — Close of Event


Andrea Anner
Andrea Anner
Born in Zurich, Switzerland, graduated from ZHDK in 2008 with a BA in Visual Communication and in 2012 from ECAL with a MA in Art Direction: Type Design. Since 2014, she collaborates with Martina Perrin as Anner Perrin, a studio for Art Direction.

Roddy Schrock

Roddy Schrock is a curator and arts executive. Since 2015, Schrock has been the Executive Director of Eyebeam in New York City, an institution dedicated to supporting art that engages technology. There, he manages the functional capacities of the organization’s direct artist support and guides its focus on supporting work that aims to realign societal relationships to emergent technologies.

He has been an active practitioner in digital and sound art, living and working on three continents. He received an MFA from Mills College and certificate in non-profit management at Harvard University. His essays have been published by MIT Press, and he writes regularly for online publications, such as Hyperallergic and Huffington Post. He has previously written for New Music Box, Fucking Good Art, and e/i Magazine. As a sound artist, Schrock has been commissioned by Meet the Composer, the American Music Center, The Netherlands America Foundation, and Ostrava New Music Days, among others.

He currently teaches in the Curatorial Practice MA Program at the School of Visual Arts and has taught at the Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music (STEIM), California College of the Arts, and New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. He sits on the Netherlands America Foundation Cultural Committee and is a founding board member of Art+Feminism.

Thibault Brevet
Thibault Brevet
Born in Lyon, France, graduated from ECAL in 2012 with a BA in Graphic Design and in 2015 with a MA in Visual Arts. He has been developing a practice at the intersection of art, engineering and design. Since 2012, he is programming websites.

About the Installation

Handshake: An Interactive Robotic Installation by AATB
Live and on display May 28 – June 30, 2020

The physical installation consists of two robotic arms, each equipped with an over-sized hand. They are facing each other and moving together, following the directions of two people from afar. This virtual platform enables visitors to take control of the robots. The chance to control a large and complex robot with ease, no manual needed here! An interaction as simple as reaching out and shaking your own hand but with a friend across the globe.

Visitors are matched in pairs as they join the site, each remotely controlling one robotic arm in their browser in real-time via mouse and touch input. They then interact with one another aiming to shake hands, to touch.

After a certain amount of time, (depending on the amount of visitors in line) the scene is reset, and the next two visitors in the line take over control of the robots. All visitors to the website can observe this interaction between the two robots happening in real time over a live feed, as they wait on line or just view the site.

The project builds on AATB’s strong expertise in robotics systems, web development and interactive installations.

Visuals by Emmanuel Crivelli

About AATB

In 2018, Andrea Anner and Thibault Brevet started a collaborative practice together. They have been informally working alongside on a number of projects but a common will to explore specific themes emerged. The practice develops around the idea of Non-Industrial Robotics: Three years ago they started experimenting with industrial robotic systems such as robotic arms and industrial automation processes. Together they develop works exploring Human-Machine Interactions through the lens of kinetic and interactive devices. The studio is currently in Residence at Atelier Luma in Arles.

AATB have been nominated for the Swiss Design Awards 2020.

Check out their work.

Handshake: A Interactive Robotic Installation, was initiated by swissnex Boston and AATB, in close collaboration with the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York, the Swiss Federal Office of Culture, and swissnex San Francisco. This project and its global reach were made possible by the generous support of the global swissnex network, Présence Suisse, and Pro Helvetia.