Doing Nothing with AI

Emanuel Gollob (AT)


A neuroreactive robotic installation

In times of constant busyness, technological overload and the demand for permanent receptivity to information, doing nothing is often seen as provocative and a waste of time. However, enjoying a moment of inaction and introspection while letting our minds wander and daydream may be more productive than staying constantly busy.

In order to promote a doing-nothing state in 2019, Emanuel Gollob and his team created a neuro-reactive installation, using live EEG-measurements and a real-time adapting robotic choreography. Over time a generative algorithm increasingly learns to move the installation in a way that best supports the user’s mind-wandering process.


Projekt Credits:

  • CORE TEAM: Emanuel Gollob (AT) — design & concept, Magdalena May (AT) — concept & research
  • ADVICE AND SUPPORT: Johannes Braumann (AT), Laboratory for Creative Robotic — robotic support, Dr Orkan Attila Akgun (AT) — neuroscientific support, Magdalena Akantisz (AT) & Pia Plankensteiner (AT) — Graphic Design
  • Supported by Vienna Business Agency. Parts of this iteration were produced at Design Investigations studio at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.
  • This project is presented in the framework of the European ARTificial Intelligence Lab and co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.



Emanuel Gollob (AT) (b. 1991) graduated in design investigations at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna. His most recent projects include kinematic video instruments in the Austria Pavilion at EXPO 2017 in Kazakhstan, as well as the “Robot, Doing Nothing” media art project, exhibited at the Ars Electronica Festival in 2017 and the ERROR exhibition in Berlin 2018/2019.