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Robot Weekend: Being Human Gizmos

This innovative IAH symposium, “Robot Weekend: Being Human Gizmos,” begins with the opening night performance of Anthony Clarvoe’s new play Gizmo, which is inspired by Karel Capek’s R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) – the play that introduced the word "robot" (worker) for the first time. Then on Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15 we’ll hold a series of conversations about the boundaries of the human, with regard to artificial intelligence, animals, disability, and bioethics. Topics will range from worms to zombies to the history of consciousness, so quite literally, there should be something for everyone. And at the center of the conference, at noon on Saturday, Anthony Clarvoe will lead a lunch session on his play, just before the 2:00 p.m. matinee. Come join us for a weekend of being humans and playing with robots!

The symposium is free and open to the public, but please register below. Tickets for Gizmo are available through the Penn State School of Theatre.


Registration is now closed. Please contact for more information.


April 13, 2012

Playhouse Theatre
7:00 p.m. – Premier of Gizmo, a new play by Anthony Clarvoe

April 14, 2012

119 Theatre Building

9:00 a.m. – Robots and Popular Culture 

  • Gerry Santoro presents “Machine Intelligence: We Think, Therefore...”
  • Chloe Silverman presents “Zombie Robots and Therapeutic Playmates”

11:00 a.m. – Robots and Plays

  • Jennifer Rhee presents “Robot Takes the Stage: Hiroshi Ishiguro's Android Actress”
  • Sidney Perkowitz presents “Robots on Stage and Screen: Good, Bad, or Just Human?”

12:30 p.m. – Lunch session with Anthony Clarvoe and roundtable discussion of Gizmo (114 Theatre Building)

2:00 p.m. – Rhetoric, History, and Animals

  • Karl Steel presents “Everything is Food”
  • Debra Hawhee presents “Zoostylistics”

4:00 p.m. – Automata and the Noösphere

  • Joan Landes presents “Early Modern Automata as Devices of Enlightenment”
  • Rich Doyle presents “Just Say "Yes to the Noösphere!”

5:30 p.m. – Puppetry and Disability Performance with Laurencio Carlos Ruiz, theatre arts

April 15, 2012

119 Theatre Building

9:30 a.m. – Disability and the Boundaries of the Human

  • Licia Carlson presents “The Paradox of Disability: Reasserting Animality and Reimagining Humans”
  • Rob Wilson presents “Bio Low Tech: Persons, Marked Human Variation, and the Sub-Normal”

11:30 a.m. – Science Studies on the Planetary Scale

  • Kris Weller presents “Epigenetics and Earth Justice: (Not Even) Nothing is Non-Human”
  • Susan Squier presents “‘Unsettling, Even Perhaps a Bit Sinister’: The Implications of Waddington's 'World Egg' for Humans, Animals, and Others”

1:00 p.m. – Final remarks and lunch (114 Theatre Building)