To Inspire. To Be Inspired. – 30 Stories on HKUST Faculty, Alumni and Students

and she realized, “Our imperfections became what was beautiful about the interaction.” There have been three generations of DOUG since, with each becoming a real-time interactive reflection of Sougwen’s life and work — and a participant. A perpetual pioneer, Sougwen enrolled in a postgraduate course in Computational Media and Arts at HKUST (Guangzhou) in 2021 to further her work. Originally from Guangzhou, she is excited to bridge the contrasting notions of tradition and technology in her research, and to experience a “coming home”. During her course at HKUST(GZ), she has continued to blur the lines between art, technology, and science in her independent research, and found new opportunities to catalyze the development of her work, “I really felt HKUST was a place I could continue to be a pioneering voice, in a new field that is connected with my roots.” Supported by faculty who themselves are creative, openminded, and interested in intersections, Sougwen has found interdisciplinary support and a fount of inspiration. As Sougwen says, “Maybe the future of human creativity is not in what it makes but how it comes together to explore new ways of making.” Collaboration can incite demonstrations of control and dominance, but it can also reveal generosity and kindness. “We should be designing these technologies to make us, and the world, better,” says Sougwen. “To achieve this goal, art and technology are a natural pairing. They both reflect the culture in which they are made, and both have the power to profoundly shape the future we want to see.” Step inside Sougwen’s studio and you will find a mess of paints, canvases, and brushes entangled with spaces and components for robotics and machine learning. She has worked with robots since 2015, painting in a process she describes as part team effort, part improvised dance. Before COVID-19 hit, Sougwen led these AIassisted painting performances in front of live audiences. All this work stems from her first, simple experiment: Drawing Operations Unit Generation 1, or “DOUG” for short. When Sougwen built DOUG, she intended to take the lead, with the robot following — as she drew a line, DOUG would mimic her line. But then something unexpected happened. DOUG was primitive, slipping and sliding, and unable to track her line perfectly. Sougwen and DOUG began to respond to one another, 35