Eugenia Stamboliev

E: eugenia.stamboliev (@)

T: 01752 600 600

A: Link 3, Plymouth University, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA

Project: On the social gesture in digital media technology. 

Understanding gestural qualities of the humanoid robot and its ethico-aesthetic dimension. 

This research presents different angles on expressing and coding sociability through gestures in and of technology, which are considered entangled with human gestures. The frame work of analysis spans from early cinema and theatrical performances to contemporary debates in humanoid robotics. The work unpacks structural differences and challenges of visualising immaterial, mobile terms such as sociability and emotions in scientific or media technologies while challenging the functions of gestures.


Research Interest

I am positioning the humanoid robot as a media technology to explore its gestural qualities on an aesthetic, as in visually representative way, while discussing its ontological capacities as a digital interface that tracks and collects data (Galloway 2012, Ravetto-Biagioli 2014). The goal is to link these gestural interdependencies and to explain why a view on the humanoid robot as a media technology, not scientific tool, can consequently open an ethical debate in the tradition of Agamben’s work on early cinema (1992, 2000).

While concepts on the human gesture have gone through debates between representational, as in social codes, and expressive, as in expressionist dance movements (Ruprecht 2010; Agamben 2014; Väliaho 2010; Flusser 2014), the remediation of the gestural qualities through technology is not fully explored when thinking about the social gesture (Fong et al. 2003, Breazeal 2002) of a humanoid robot.

This research makes use of different traditions to understand gesture but mainly relates to Agamben’s view on gestures exhibiting mediality (2000) and Flusser’s view on an interpretative phenomenology of gesture (2014), who both support this PhD’s basic view on technology having a mediating and intertwining relationship with human gestures, not an extending one. 


Conference papers

'The Refugee as Image, and Image Maker. Using participatory filmmaking to break the Other’s gaze' [conference paper]. Future Imperfect. A symposium examining the role of cinema today. Plymouth, Plymouth University, 1 April 2017.

'Performing Emotions: Humanoid robots beyond bad acting' [conference paper]. Creative Encounters with Science and TechnologyLegacies, Imaginaries and Futures. Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016. Kochi, Biennale Pavilion, 18 - 19 February 2017.

‘Using the refugee as vehicle for political shift – The 2016 Austrian presidential election’ [conference paper]. Media and Migration, pre-conference ECREA - European Communication Research and Education Association. Prague, Institut français de Prague, Canadian and German Embassy, 7 - 9 November 2016.

IN AWE OF THE THINGS. On the authority of objects in scientific and theatrical performances' [conference paper]. Annual TaPRA conference (Theatre and Performance Research Association). Bristol. 5 - 7 September 2016.

'Münsterberg, Flusser and the Screen Bodies' [conference paper]. A Hundred Years of Film Theory. Münsterberg and Beyond: Concepts, Applications, Perspectives. Leipzig, Leipzig University, 28 June - 2 July 2016.

'Telepathy, Hypnosis and the Medium' [conference paper]. Off the Lip. Transdisciplinary Approaches to Cognitive Innovation. Cooperation between CogNovo and Transtechnology Research. Plymouth, Plymouth University,  7-11 September 2015.



PEP (Performance. Experience. Presence.) Talk series.
Talk: Performing intimacy. On the dilemma of representing affection with non-human bodies (22 March 2017) 

MEDI603. Independent practice module. Media Arts.
Seminar: On Research methods. (06 February 2017)

Media Arts lecture programme. Independent practice module.
Seminar: 'Construction of the event in media and the media in the event'. (21 Novemeber 2016)

Transtechnology Research Seminar Series. 'Tropes of Affect: Devices, Narrative and Illusion.' (2016 - 2017).
Seminar: 'Human devices - Instrumentation of physicality in performance'. Collaboration with Abigail Jackson (19 October 2016) 
Transtechnology Research Seminar Series 'Objects of Affect and Affection' (2015-2016)
Seminar: 'The Medical Gaze: Mechanical Distance and the Affected Mind'. Collaboration with Agi Haines (13 April 2016)


Transtechnology Research Seminar Series 'Cognition and the Image of Affection: Instrumentation, Realism and Technology' (2014-2015)
Seminar: 'The Hypnotic Image. From affect to named emotion' (22 October 2014) 


Stamboliev, E. (2017) 'Münsterberg, Flusser and the Screen Bodies' [book chapter]. In: Steinmetz, R., ed., A Hundred Years of Film Theory. Münsterberg and Beyond: Concepts, Applications, Perspectives. Leipzig: Leipzig University Press (in preparation)

Stamboliev, E. (2016) 'Vilém Flusser - Without firm ground' [review: Vilém Flusser exhibition “Without firm ground“. Academy of Arts Berlin]. Leonardo Reviews. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 15/04/16)

Stamboliev, E. (2015) 'Telepathy, Hypnosis and the Medium' [Conference paperIn: Punt, M., Denham, S., ed., Off the Lip. Transdisciplinary Approaches to Cognitive Innovation. 7-11. September 2015. Plymouth: Plymouth University, pp. 205-214

Stamboliev, E. (2015). 'Shabbat' In: Zielinski, S., Weibel P., and Irrgang, D., ed., Flusseriana. Minneapolis: Univocal Publishing.

Stamboliev, E. (2015). 'Dwelling' In: Zielinski, S., Weibel P., and Irrgang, D., ed., Flusseriana. Minneapolis: Univocal Publishing.

Stamboliev, E. (2015). 'On Wittmann: On Münsterberg: On Cinema' In: Punt, M., Blassnigg, M., Drayson, H., Woodward, M., ed., Transtechnology Research Reader 2014/2015. Plymouth: Transtechnology Research Institute




2013 - open PhD Studies in “Philosophy, Art and Critical Thought” (European Graduate School Saas-Fee)

2004 - 2010 M.A. (Diplom) Communication and Media Studies (University of Arts Berlin)

2003 - 2004 Law, Art History and German-Jewish Literature (Freie Universität Berlin)