We are Project: GALATH3A, fem-tech, design duo. Our work designs and develops woman-machine collaboration. Together with a UR5 robotic arm named Gala (short for Galatea), we research and design on the fringe of art, tech and sociology. 

For the coming International Women’s Day, we wanted to share with you a peek into the world of woman-machine collaboration. Our work relates to women’s image in the digital age. We use robotic fabrication to speculate on what is culturally considered as “womanly behaviour”. This  inspired a design process of gestures and gentle touch, performed by a robotic arm. We chose to focus on the act of applying makeup and hack it, because it is synonymous with the notion of “perfection”, the commoditization of the woman-body and the male gaze.

The name of the project relates to the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea. Galatea is the image of the perfect woman created by sculptor Pygmalion, for his pleasure. We wanted to reverse this relationship. Here, the instrument is regarded as equal and is invited to partake in co-creation. This way we challenge the image of women in the digital age moving away from perfection, away from the male gaze and into kinship of women and machines.A robotic arm mirroring human gestures prompts questions about the nature of these behaviours: are they necessary? Should it be passed on? If so, how could we enhance it to empower women? The work raises questions about sexuality,  gender biases and human-machine kinship. 

In letting a robotic arm paint your face, a great deal of trust is required. What if it fails? What if it jeopardizes your privacy? What if it hurts you?
We see great similarities between a human placing trust in a machine and consent between humans. We find writing machine-code and controlling how we are approached and touched very empowering.Our method includes the digital design and fabrication of bespoke makeup patterns and its application with a co-bot (a robotic arm for human-machine collaboration). 

The tech used includes 3D scans, parametric design, 3D printing and the translation of humans gestures into machine code. The work is simulated and tested on our faces. We are currently developing it as a live installation for audience participation. The research is performed at the Berlin Open Lab and associated with Universität der Künste, Berlin (UDK), under Prof. Tim Elder and associate Christian Schmidt.

You can take a leap into our world by watching our latest video:

Galath3a from Gili Ron & Irina Bogdan

Gili Ron is an Israeli designer, based in Berlin. Ron explores the use of innovative technologies in the architecture practice. She is a digital designer at Burckhardt+Partner, Berlin; researches on woman-machine collaboration at the Berlin Open Lab, Universität der Künste, Berlin; editor and contributor for the digital magazine UTOPIA, in Hebrew and English.Ron holds a degree from Azrieli School of Architecture, Tel-Aviv University (B.Arch) and Emergent Technologies and Design masters program, AA School, London (M.Arch). For her master’s thesis, she researched and designed environmental habitats in arid regions (Western Sahara), using locally resourced materials and on-site robotic fabrication. Ron is a co-founder of Good Night NGO, fighting sexual harassment in Israeli nightlife.

Irina Bogdan is an architect, practicing at the crossroads between art, design, spatial design and architecture. She graduated in 2011 from University of Architecture and Urbanism “Ion Mincu”. After engaging in organizing and tutoring workshops revolving around the notions of digital design and fabrication, she practiced as an architectural designer for five years as part of UNStudio (Apr.2013 – Sept.2017). In 2018 she dived into the field of arts and worked along Studio Tomás Saraceno before starting her activity as an independent design researcher at Berlin Open Lab (Universität der Künste, Berlin) and launching her own design practice in 2020.


Created and developed by Irina Bogdan and Gili Ron
Videographer:  Matias Jeffs, matiasjeffs.com
Music:Zoe Polanski and Ori itzhaki, https://zoepolanski.bandcamp.com

Galath3a is researched at the Berlin Open Lab, Berlin under the supervision of Prof.Tim Elder,  Universität Der Künste, BerlinSpecial thanks to:
Ignacio Boscolo
Zoe Polanski
Christian Schmidt | Universität Der Künste, Berlin
Tonia Walter | Berlin Open Lab, Universität Der Künste, Berlin

Our inspiration collage, titled “GALATH3A”, based on the painting of Jean-Léon Gérôme: Pygmalion und Galatea, 1890: