Patrick Tresset, HUMAN STUDY #1. 5 Robots Named Paul. Robotic installation.

“Human Study” is a futuristic drawing lesson. In Patrick Tresset’s piece, the human is the sitter and the inspiration, and the robots take the role of the artists. Drawing sessions resemble a performance and they last around thirty minutes. During the Patchlab Festival anyone can be a sitter, just by registering online.

There are five robots, all of them named Paul. They all look alike except for the eyes, which are individualized – old-fashioned digital cameras and low-resolution webcams. They draw obsessively, and the sound of their motors creates an improvised soundtrack that makes us feel as if we were listening to a noise band.

The installation comes as the effect of research on perceptive, cognitive, and motor processes occurring while humans draw. The way the robots draw are based on Tresset’s technique, and the way the creator of the installation cares for the quality of the generated works is highly important. Tresset is constantly working on the computational system controlling the robots’ drawing behaviour, and for each exhibition the systems are fine-tuned so that they can produce more interesting drawings.

5RNP was premiered at the Merge festival in association with Tate Modern in London in 2012, and it has since been exhibited at Ars Electronica (Linz), BIAN (Montreal), Japan Media Festival (Kyoto), and Update_5 (Ghent) where it was awarded Prix du Public and 3rd Prix du Jury.

The drawings are the property of Ateliers Patrick Tresset Ltd. They can be copied in the form of a digital photo. They become a part of a work entitled The Collection, which already consists of over 30,000 drawings.


Patrick Tresset is a French artist and scientist who researches computational creativity, art, and our relations with robots. Tresset first got a business computer science diploma, and then moved to London, where he started to paint. In 1991–2003 his works were presented at many individual and collective exhibitions in London and Paris. Since 2003, he has been working on computational and robotic systems that simulate art activity.


The installation is presented as part of the 7th Patchlab Digital Art Festival 2018 ARTBOTS examining a world increasingly full of intelligent algorithms and creative Artificial Intelligence.

Full program can be found on the festival webpage: <>