Artists and researchers Karen Lancel and Hermen Maat duo (Lancel/Maat, based in Amsterdam) work in multi-disciplinary fields of media art, science, technology and society. They are considered pioneers exploring shared experience of embodiment and isolation, empathy and intimacy, identity, privacy and trust, in posthuman bio-social-technical entanglement with (non-)human others. Lancel and Maat consider empathy as a basis for sharing sustainable climate eco-systems, artificial and natural. Their participatory media art performances, installation and internet art, video works, invite the audience on dialogue platforms for personal and ethical questions on sharing touching and feeling touched, in hybrid and digital, XR and mixed realities, and online streaming platforms.

2000-2023 Awarded Art Grants by Mondriaan Foundation.
2019 TASIE 2019 / Wu Guanzhong Art Science Innovation Award, National Museum of China,
Art and Science International Exhibition and Symposium Tsinghua University Beijing.
2019 NFF Golden Calf Nomination, Netherlands Film Festival 'Interactive'.
2019 Netherlands Digital Art Canon 1960-2000, LIMA Media Art Platform Amsterdam.
2018 EMAP European Media Art Platform 2018-2021 - Europe Cultural Program.
2018 GAAC Global Art & AI Competition Award, Tsinghua University Beijing.
2017 Europe Program Horizon 2020 - Award BrainHack 3d prize (Waag Society Amsterdam & Science Gallery Dublin. With Alexander von Lühmann, University Berlin).
2012 Best Practice Award by Virtueel Platform 2012.
2011 Best Practice Award by Virtueel Platform 2011.

Since 2000, Lancel/Maat's work has been internationally presented in Europe, Asia and USA (Biennale di Venezia 2015; Ars Electronica Festival Linz 2018-2020; ZKM Karlsruhe 2001; National Museum of China 2019; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam 2001, 2011,2012; Millenium Museum Beijing 2006; ISEA 2019 Gwangzou; Eyebeam New York 2003; Beall Center L.A. 2018) (find here). Their prize winning works were awarded numerous grants and generous support (find here), artist-in-residencies, fellowships and public commissions (EMAP European Program, TASML Tsinghua University Beijing, Banff Center Canada) (find here).
Their work is represented by Public Art Lab Berlin (find here). Lancel and Maat are authors of many publications (Springer Verlag, InderScience, TEDx, CHI, ArtsIT, Leonardo, MIT Press (find here), and many publications covered their work (find here). They are international speakers, educators and researchers and (find here).

Their international collaborations in multi-disciplinary partnerships have led to new perspectives on the design and ethics of emotional well-being, including social connection, disconnection, and isolation (f.e. through trauma, autism), neuro-diversity, inclusiveness, and tele-presence.
Lancel's art and science research PhD (find here) at the University of Technology Delft, 'Participatory complex systems lab', presents the world's first Interaction Model for digital social touch: 'Can I Touch You Online?' (CITYO) (2023, Lancel/Maat). This model presents a new vision on the design of 'Shared Social Touch' experience, on the basis of social and AI stimulated neural networks; to inspire art, design, technology, social and neuro-science, education, and AI cultures.


Living together implies sharing embodied experience.
Can I touch you online? Can we measure intimacy? How does your kiss feel in EEG Data?

At the heart of Lancel and Maat's work are assemblages of humans, technology and nature for poetic Trust Rituals and Trust Systems. The artists radically reassemble AI, bio-feedback and control systems to facilitate shared intimate bodily experience of touching and feeling touched in empathic interaction. They state that intimate experience is a form of co-creation. Playfully and ambiguously, their works provoke dialogue and imagination for new narratives of feeling together and care, in future sustainable eco-cultures.

Artistic Social Labs. Lancel/Maat works function as meeting spaces in (semi-)public space. In their seductive, aesthetic 'Artistic Social Labs' (ASL), the audience meet as ‘co-researchers'. The audience meet each other via visionary, multi-sensory forms of neuro-interaction. The artists develop novel forms of digital Shared Social Touch perception; making use of face-recognition technologies, smart sensors and smart textiles, online streaming platforms, and brain computer interfaces (BCI). Feedback data merge into SHARED DATA COMPOSITIONS considered by the artists as a poetic form of 'DATA-ENCRYPTION': an aesthetic form of AI data-collection in which data of touching, caressing, face visualisation and personal messages merge, no longer traceable to individuals.
The ASLs have presented different forms of touch performativity, intimacy and dialogue internationally, in (often challenging) geographical, political and cultural contexts, carefully hosted by the artists.

Reflexive Data-Scapes. The ASLs include:
EEG KISS (2014) and Kissing Data Symphonies (2019) invite participants to share an intimate kiss. Their brain activity is E.E.G. transferred to emerging audio-visually shared data compositions, for a Global Kiss real-time to be shared with a (networked) audience. In Saving Face (2012) and (Tele_Trust 2009), on city screens, participants create self-portraits through self-caressing their faces, merging with portraits of previous participants into shared 'Virtual Personas': MEET MIRROR and MERGE. Online their portraits merge into Deep Fake selfies (TouchMyTouch 2022, HyperTouching Selfies 2023). In StalkShow (2004) participants are invited to contribute to their portraits with poetic and social-political textual statements about 'safety and control' in public growing online databases; through real-time messages from a smart phone app about 'trust for networking bodies' (Tele_Trust 2009); and in a tactile, inflatable 'Isolation Pillar' travelling through cities, to create a database for a collective 'mobile monument for public isolation' (Agora Phobia (digitalis) 2000-2023).

STATEMENT: Shared Senses. The artists argue that in science, digital data represent things - while in art, digital data point at themselves for shared reflection and imagination. Novel, entangled artistic and scientific data approaches are vital to meaningful, interdependent multi-species AI connections. (find statement here).

ZKM Karlsruhe; Digital-Canon LIMA; KPN Telecommunication Netherlands; Iaspis Stockholm; private collections in France, USA, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Riga, Beijing.