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Freehand Automation

Machinic Protocols Exhibition

On April 19th, an automatic drawing exhibition was held in Sant Lluc, resulting in a performative act emerging from the creative confrontation between artists from Cercle Artístic Sant Lluc and computer experts from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), from the Master in Advanced Architecture‘s research line Machinic Protocols directed by Edouard Cabay.


Remote from the mind, the hand as an automated machine that executes drawings according to a predetermined protocol.


The experiment puts the human body in the position of a machine: it tries to separate it from its intuition and instinct, to use it as an operator of gestures determined by an external protocol. It addresses the role of the person in creativity, automation and artificial intelligence.


Category: Workshop and Exhibition

Location: Cercle Artistic de Sant Lluc, Barcelona.

Duration: 2 months

Contribution: film

Project director: Edouard Cabay

Project assistant: Keesje Avis

Sant Lluc Coordination: Ana Isabel Cajiao

Video: Lili Tayefi

Photography: Enric Bolaño

Computation experts: Tal Dotan & Martin Garcia-Miro Zaldumbide, Aman Jain & Hayder Abdulameer Mohammed Mahdi, Gayatri Harikrishana Desai & Ewald Jooste, Bhakti Vinod Loonawat & Matteo Proaño Albuja, Soroush Garivani & Elena Kavtaradze, Gabrielė Liuda Jurevičiūtė & Deepak Sivadasan, Xu Jiang & Takeru Osoegawa, Arman Najari & Baran Mostafa Tehrani, Yingxin Du & Ardeshir Talaei, Marc Bou Assaf & Alberto Emil Holguin Martinez.

Artists: Clara Baylina, Nicolau Bou, Margarida Sánchez, Oscar Lechuga, Isabel Witt, Carme Riu, Rebeca Font, David Miràs, Natàlia Hernández, Cecilia Pétriz, Violeta Valdor

Film Production: Lili Tayefi Assisted by: Elmira Mahnia

Music: Ryoji Ikeda, Data

Drawing Exercise

In a highly constrained context, 10 artists draw thoroughly following 10 different protocols, or pre-determined sets of instructions, during a fixed period of 120 minutes. The instructions invite the artists to draw in the way of operating actions rather then following their intuition. Their body thus becomes a device or an instrument that mechanically executes orders.


10 protocols
10 artists
10 experts in computation

Paper: 100×70 cm
Pen: ink – 0,1 thick
Time: 120 minutes

10 hand drawings
10 computer drawings

In parallel, these sets of instructions, this time in the form of an algorithm, are run through a computer that generates a digital drawing, which is then printed and hanged next to its analogue hand drawn version. The juxtaposition of the two drawings leads to the comparison of the pair: created by different means, both share the same logics but their form and stroke certainly differ.

This experiment and its series of drawings aim to investigate the relationship between the person and the machine in the creative process, in automation and in artificial intelligence.

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