Bedtime Stories is a knowledge-expanding performance between artist Maja Smrekar and a robot who develop shared language and understanding using storytelling as a vehicle. Since their inception, robots have been seen as an amplification of humanity and a possible cause of its future demise. Smrekar explores the ambiguities of the human-robot relationship through a deeply personal work that centres on the understanding of different facets of pain.

Maja Smrekar is an award-winning artist and researcher. Smrekar explores the potentials of current technological and scientific processes across ecology, ethology, artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology, molecular biology amongst other disciplines. In 2017, she received the Prix Ars Electronica - Golden Nica 2017 in the Hybrid Arts Category (Linz, Austria). In 2018, she was the recipient of the Prešeren Foundation Award, the highest award for artistic achievements of the Republic of Slovenia. In 2020 and 2021, she was the Science Breakthrough of the Year finalist within the Science in the Arts category of the Falling Walls Foundation and Berlin Science Week. Smrekar exhibited extensively with over twenty solo and fifty group shows around the world.

Image: Maja Smrekar with a Spot robot dog, 2021, courtesy of Ars Electronica and Martin Hieslmair



The Future is Unwritten Artists’ Response Fund was established in 2020 as part of the United Nations 75th Anniversary Program (UN75) and World Health Organization Solidarity Series of Events. The Fund provided production support to artist-led projects that looked to improve mental, social and environmental health in the wake of COVID-19. The fund prioritised projects on the frontline of global health crises, especially where the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing threats to the environment, economy, public health, political stability and human rights. Considering both the physical and psychological cost of health crises, the fund aims to empower artists working with marginalised communities, and whose projects represent models which can be scaled to contribute to a paradigm shift on health and sustainability issues around the world. Partnership with Culturunners.

Image: Chip Thomas, Rose Hurley with Her Great Grandson, Painted Desert - Pandemic as a Portal, The Future is Unwritten Artists’ Response Fund, 2021-2022, courtesy of the author