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SLSA Conference “CODE” in Portland, Maine

For the last four days I have been attending the SLSA (Society for Literature, Science and the Arts), apparently pronounced “salsa”, conference in Portland, Maine.

View from my hotel

Above is the view of the harbour from my hotel.

The theme of the conference was “CODE” and I presented a paper called “Machine codes in conversations with embodied emotional robots”, which went surprisingly well considering the level of jet lag I was experiencing at the time! I was on the panel, “Robots & Zombies”, with Nick Knouf and Jentery Sayers, both of whom gave great papers. Nick’s, which was about his robot called Syngvan (n here indicates the version of the project a, b, c, etc), had a particular resonance with my own, as we share an interest in non-humanoid, non-anthropomorphic robots.

In addition to attending the conference, with N. Katherine Hayles and Brian Massumi as plenary speakers, I also had a little time to explore Portland. Here is a picture of the only weatherboard observatory I have ever seen (rather like a windmill which has had its wings pulled off),

Portland observatory

and another view of the water from where I ate lunch in the park.

View from the park

You can see that there is some construction going on in Portland, but it was still a nice place to walk around, and the seafood was great :-).

Tomorrow I take the early train to Boston, and then fly straight out to Montreal. I’m going to visit Bill Vorn and Jessica Field, both of whom create robotic art installations.


  1. What pretty pictures! The conference sounds really interesting – what was Kate Hayles’ keynote like?

    I’d like to say you’re missing something in Perth, but as my eyes have only just finished marking their last 1st-year flash animation, that might be stretching the truth … 🙂

  2. Thanks for the photos, Eleanor. Pleasure meeting you in Portland! The talk was fantastic. Keep me posted on your work. I really enjoyed the panel!

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