Human Study #1 from a distance

Ateliers Patrick Tresset

Human Study#1, From a Distance is an installation in which the human becomes an actor. In a scene reminiscent of a life drawing class, the human takes the sitter’s role to be sketched by three robots. The machines, minimal stylised artists, are only capable of drawing obsessively. Their bodies are old school desks on which the drawing paper is pinned. The drawing sessions last 20 minutes, during which time the human cannot see the drawings in progress. The sitter only sees the robots alternating between observing and drawing, sometimes pausing. For the spectators, the sitter is an integral part of the installation. The robots were initially developed by Patrick Tresset to alleviate a debilitating painter’s block. Even if the way the robot draws is based on Tresset’s technique, its style is not a pastiche but rather an interpretation influenced by the robot’s characteristics. Tresset continually works on the computational system controlling the robot’s drawing behaviour, and for each exhibition, the systems are tuned again until they produce interesting drawings. Using autonomous robots to draw from observation enables Tresset to further his exploration of the drawing practice.



Presented as part of Creativate Digital Arts Festival.

  • Format: Stream
  • Duration: 20min
  • Language: English
  • Ages: 14+
  • Available From:


Installation: Patrick Tresset and Malo Irie


Patrick Tresset  is a Brussels-based artist who develops performative art installations with robotic agents as stylised actors. Tresset’s installations use computational systems that aim to introduce artistic, expressive and obsessive aspects to robots’ behaviour. These systems are influenced by research into human behaviour, more specifically, how we make marks, depict others, perceive artworks and relate to robots. In parallel Tresset also uses robots and autonomous computational systems to explore the drawings and painting practice.

Tresset’s work has been internationally exhibited in solo shows and also in association with major institutions such as The Grand Palais (Paris), The Pompidou Center (Paris), Prada Foundation (Milan), Tate Modern (London), Museum of Israel (Jerusalem), Victoria & Albert Museum (London), MMCA (Seoul), BOZAR (Brussels) and at events such as Ars Electronica, Update_5, BIAN, Japan Media Festival.

Originally a painter, Tresset is part of a generation of artists coming out of Goldsmiths’ computing department, where he holds an Msc and MPhil in arts and technology. As well as co-directing the AIkon-II project, he also developed and taught a creative robotics module. Tresset has published research papers in the fields of computational aesthetics, social robotics, drawing research and AI.