Aparna Rao


Aparna Rao, part of an art duo, first met Soren Pors in at the Interaction Design Institute in Italy in 2002 where the two were undergoing a two year scholarship. In 2004 they started working together with their combined skills of mechanical engineering, programming, manufacturing, electrical engineering and interactive design. In 2009 they showed work The Expanded Box, Indian Highway and the 4th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale. Aparna Rao, prior to the Interaction Design Institute, studied at National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. Although Pors originated from Denmark, he now lives and practices with Roa in Bangladesh. They have been know ever since by  Pors & Roa.

What get’s my attention is the personality behind their work. Pors & Roa create pieces that are not only interactive, but fun and quite humorous. More then often, work that involves sensors and  physical computing in general are somewhat serious. It is nice to see a different approach to this medium. Their work often stems from playful concepts such as little Pygmies peeking out behind the canvas only to frantically hide when they are startled by the sound of the viewer. The piece utilizes sound sensing technology. It has the ability to separate ambient  foreground sounds. This gives the piece a life like quality. Most creatures this small run into hiding when they sense humans. It’s believable even though there are no creatures in the real world like this. Their movements seem really organic and life like.


Another piece craves the viewers attention and rocks back and forth while it waves it’s hands at the viewer. As the viewer gets closer the object seems to be more excited. Cute as it is, the humor lies when the object gets the attention of the view it is no longer interested and moves on to it’s next victim.2_decoy

I imagine if we anthropomorphize art, art wants to been experienced. After all, art is mostly created for that intention. Pors & Roa take this idea and flip it around on us. This object seeks out our attention. It’s actions which resembles characteristics of a human, envoke an emotion in us. If we were to ignore it we may feel a bit guilty so our natural resonse would be to humor it. Pors & Roa anticipate our actions and add’s a twist to this piece. Using some sort of sensor that measures proximity or of the like, an algorithm maybe be trigger rendering the object’s attention in another direction.

Much of Pors & Roa’s work utilize humor to communicate their ideas along with the technology behind it. Their sculptural pieces take on life of their own with  individualistic personalities. The anthropomorphism of these objects allows us to connect and interact with pieces as if it were alive. There were instances of users acting really playful with the piece Pygamies, Sneaking up all the little guys in an attempt to catch them off guard. But sure enough they are made up of sensors,electrical wires and a simple algorithm. so the outcome isn’t too complex.


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