Sougwen Chung Wins Excellence Award for her Drawing Robot, D.O.U.G._1

Sougwen Chung is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist and NEW INC alum, whose diverse practice spans installation, sculpture, still image, drawing and performance. Curious as to what it would be like to share the creative process with a non-human collaborator, Chung conceptualized a drawing robot. Along with fellow NEW INC alum developer Yotam Mann, Chung created the Drawing Operations Unit: Generation 1 (D.O.U.G._1).

As Chung draws, D.O.U.G._1 tracks and mimics her movements, allowing the two to draw in synchronization. The technology is not perfect, but any inaccuracies are perceived as part of the improvisation. 

D.O.U.G._1 was first developed for the NEW INC Showcase at Red Bull Studios last July, and the project recently won an Excellence Award from the Japan Media Arts Festival, which aims to encourage the creation of Media Arts among a new generation of artists. D.O.U.G._1 was chosen from a pool of 4,417 entries as an honoree.

Chung perceives D.O.U.G._1 as a collaborator, not a tool. In an interview with NewHive, Chung explained how D.O.U.G._1 has influenced her practice:

“It’s a more empathetic experience because I’m engaging in the process of slowing down, paying attention, and communicating entirely through gesture.”

The performance is the first stage of an ongoing examination of human and robotic interaction as an artistic collaboration. In future stages, Chung plans to examine memory, autonomy and agency. It has been featured in Business Insider, BOOOOM and Creators Project, and will be traveling to Tokyo in February 2016 for the 19th iteration of the Japan Media Arts Festival.