Das Fremde | a project by Michael Spranger & Stéphane Noël
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Das Fremde is a colony of robotic agents who create their own language. Their culture is then exposed to the disruption from visitors: human beings. Will the agents’ culture evolve, incorporating our culture into theirs? Will the audience feel empathy with this new species? Is a dialogue possible when both languages and appearance are totally different? Das Fremde deeply questions our relationship to artificial intelligence and machines. Through the installation, robots and humans have a chance to share time and space for a moment of reflection and poetry.

Concept & Realisation: Michael Spranger & Stéphane Noël AI Programming: Michael Spranger (Sony Computer Science Laboratories Inc.) Visualisations: Supermafia Special thanks to Laurent Novac (GarageCUBE) Production: Michael Spranger & Stéphane Noël, in co-production with Digital Brainstorming (Zurich). Made with the support of Migros Cultural PercentageFondation Nestlé pour l’Art, Ernst Göhner Stiftung & Canton de Vaud.

Das Fremde was here

19 September 2020 • Yamagata Biennale (JP)

Das Fremde was invited to join the 2020 Yamagata Biennale and continue its cultural exploration in a new environment. Since the Covid-19 pandemic disallowed the public to visit the colony in person, three agents attended via Zoom and met their audience remotely.

16+17 May 2019 • Technarte • Bilbao (ES)

A presentation of Das Fremde will be part of Technarte Bilbao 2019, two days during which artists and technologists from all around the world share their vision of the fusion between art, science and technology.

Since 2006, the Technarte International Conferences held in Bilbao and Los Angeles have displayed the most innovative artistic disciplines that use technology as the main tool for creation.

9~12 March 2019 • SXSW • Austin (USA)

Das Fremde was invited by Sony to be part of its WOW Studio during South by Southwest 2019.

SXSW is an annual conference and festival about music, film, and interactive media, and has been a leader and trend-setter in those fields since its inception in 1987.

17 March 2018 • sónar+D • Hong Kong (HK)

Respected by music fans the world over since its launch in Barcelona in 1994 for its eclectic lineup, high-quality production and unwavering support for legendary and pioneering electronic artists, Sónar represents another major coup for Hong Kong’s cultural scene. Linking music, creativity and technology, Sónar has a well-earned reputation for uniting electronic music lovers and creative people from different disciplines and communities, offering a unique platform for cultural collaboration. On the creative technology side, the Sónar+D – Congress of creative technology features a series of technology-centred activities, including Workshops, Talks, an Expo, Virtual Reality and New Media for creative communities, presenting a unique opportunity for people to exchange ideas and explore the spaces where creativity and technology meet in a fun and inspiring environment.

1~3 December 2017 • Gwangju Media Art Festival 2017 광주미디어아트페스티벌 • Gwangju (KR)

2017광주미디어아트페스티벌 <인간X기계 시스템>.

12월 1일부터 3일까지 빛고을시민문화관 일원에서 열릴 2017광주미디어아트페스티벌 참여작가 소개합니다. 기대하셔도 좋습니다…

10~12 November 2017 • Gotenyama Art + Technology Week • Toyko (JP)

御殿山トラストシティでは、11月10日(金)、11日(土)、12日(日)の3日間、「GOTENYAMA ART & TECHNOLOGY WEEK 2017」を開催します。 期間中は、御殿山の森がアート&テクノロジーを体験できる未知の空間に。トラストシティを中心に、原美術館、ソニー歴史資料館、キリスト品川教会など周辺エリアをつないで、さまざまなイベントを展開します。アートを楽しみに、テクノロジーに触れに、ぜひ遊びに来てください!

3+4 December 2016 • Festival Les Urbaines • Lausanne (CH)

Les Urbaines is a festival dedicated to staging the most contemporary artistic practices, in a broad spectrum ranging from performing to visual arts and music, and so much more… There are no headliners and everything is free!

In 2016, Les Urbaines celebrates twenty years of pioneering, twenty years of relentless aesthetic adventures, twenty years of undisciplined excitement.

Das Fremde will come home to Lausanne for the first time and our agents can be visited at Espace Démart, Côtes-de-Montbenon 17.

15~20 November 2016 • Digital Brainstorming • Zürich (CH)

What is the relation between man and machine? Can humans feel empathy towards artificial intelligences? How do machines perceive us? Do we look too real to them? Under the title “Us & Them”, Digital Brainstorming presents an exhibition featuring two robotic installations at Kunstraum Walcheturm in Zurich. This program will be accompanied by talks, workshops and other artistic events dealing with the topics of AI, empathy and the forthcoming side-by-side life of humans and robots. Das Fremde will premiere there along “Projekt Face Cartography” by Daniel Boschungand and his Kuka-mounted and -driven camera, which will produce bigger-than-life portraits of the audience during the whole week.

4+5 November 2016 • State Festival • Berlin (DE)

A teaser version of Das Fremde was presented during STATE Festival. For its second edition, STATE Festival invites scientists, artists, makers, thinkers, doers and the curious public to come together and explore a scientific topic that is of our most personal concern: the state of emotion & the sentimental machine. Their science-fuelled festival program will combine engaging talks and discussions, thematic films, thought-provoking artworks and performances; with immersive visitor experiences, workshops, installations, and multiple hands on formats to engage with current scientific developments at the intersection of emotions research and artificial intelligence.


Michael Spranger (DE) is a roboticist by training, with extensive experience in research on, and construction of, autonomous systems, including research on robot perception, world modelling and behaviour control. He currently holds a position as researcher at the Sony Computer Science Laboratories (Tokyo), a small think tank on future technologies that challenges traditional boundaries in science, technology, and society. His work focuses on artificial language evolution, computational cognitive semantics and robotics. Michael Spranger has also been involved in art projects on the border of science and technology for a long time, from opera performances, to video and robot installations.


Stéphane Noël (CH) has worked mostly as an independent producer and curator of contemporary performing arts as well as he has directed and curated a couple of interdisciplinary art festivals. His practice started to encompass writing about art, urbanism and new technologies, which led him to join the artistic and editorial board of Gaîté Lyrique in Paris (2009–2011) and act as an advisor for European.Lab, the platform for cultural innovation taking place during Nuits sonores festival in Lyon. After twenty years in cultural management, he now works as a screenwriter and as an artist.

email: readme@dasfremde.world — project page: facebook.com/dasfremde