“Designing Kratts: Storytelling through Simple Machines” was a 2 day workshop I ran at the Narva Art Residency in Estonia. Participants were asked to bring a seed item with personal meaning to them and build a “Kratt” that functions as a robotic self-portrait, metaphorically reflecting the personal and emotional work that participants feel is an important part of their lives. Some images of the produced Kratts are shown here.
Inspired by the Estonian folkloric Kratt – an animated golem made of everyday items intended to complete any task its creator asks, participants reflected on
how the Kratt mythology provides a new perspective on their relationship to modern technologies. Much as Kratts require a soul to bind to, we are intimately bound to the technologies around us. Participants were asked to consider how they feel their life stories have been shaped but also can be reflected in the technologies around them. The goal was to begin thinking about how technology may be more than a Kratt – more than just a passive problem-solving intervention – but also a mirror to help us feel and experience our humanity more richly.
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