KeJi at Cheltenham Science Festival

KeJi at Cheltenham Science Festival
Meet and talk to KeJi at Cheltenham Science Festival, 15 – 17 June

KeJi’s background is a little unclear. Some believe KeJi fell from the Asteroid 2012 EG5 on April 1st as the hunk of space rock, the size of a passenger jet, hurtled past Earth – so close it flew UNDER the moon. Others claim KeJi is the result of experimentation with artificial intelligence in a secret Chinese laboratory during the ‘The China Brain Project’.

What we do know is that KeJi is an artificial intelligent creature who communicates through tweets and SMS txts. KeJi maintains a symbiotic relationship with humans by synchronizing its heart with the average heart beat of the people it interacts with. KeJi has a big heart and gets lonely and upset when it has nobody to talk to. Why don’t you talk to KeJI!

KeJi will be present during Cheltenham Science Festival: 15 – 17 June 2012. To talk to KeJi SMS ‘talkkeji‘ and ‘your question‘ to 07766404142 or send a tweet to ‘@talkkeji‘. You can also visit KeJi in the festival space, or play the game KeJi has made for you. If you like, you could have a chat to him now, here on KeJi’s website. Just go to the ‘Talk KeJi’ page and start chatting.


‘KeJi’ (meaning ‘science and technology’ in Mandarin) is a collaborative commission by Cheltenham Science Festival and i-DAT, Plymouth University, of the artist and designer Nathan Gale. Nathan is working with i-DAT’s development team to create a new interactive installation and game at Cheltenham Science Festival 2012. The playful installation will be based around an artificial intelligent (AI) creature that festival visitors can ‘speak’ to through tweets and sms txts. The installation will be linked to the ‘KeJi Bounce’ game, which will be recording players’ heart rate.

KeJi’s AI is based on A.L.I.C.E. (Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity), also referred to as Alicebot, or simply Alice, which is a natural language processing chatterbot — ‘a program that engages in a conversation with a human by applying some heuristical pattern matching rules to the human’s input’. It was inspired by Joseph Weizenbaum’s classical ELIZA program and developed by Richard Wallace in 1995. (Wikipedia, 2012)

KeJI function as an experiential ‘audience evaluation tool’ that gathers opinions, feelings and thoughts from visitors. KeJi also creates a subtle awareness of visitors’ individual heart rates.

There are two strands to the project, ‘KeJi Bounce’ and ‘KeJi Installation’.

KeJi Bounce

KeJi Bounce is a game that births a unique KeJi spawn character whose behaviour is linked to the ECG of the player’s heart rate and personal data. Players have to bounce on a trampoline to keep their creature afloat. The game will get increasingly harder as the user’s heart rate increases.

Users who have played the KeJi Bounce game can drop off their personal KeJI spawn character at the KeJi installation screen. The KeJi spawns will cluster to others with similar heart rates and generally bounce around with the bigger KeJi ‘the original’. Each spawn will display a name and the heart rate of its ‘owner/creator’.

KeJI Installation

The KeJi Installation is a human size CSF festival ‘Tamagotchy’ with artificial intelligence. It communicates with visitors through sms txts and tweets, as well as online through the website.

KeJi’s ‘form’ (the number of lines/polygons) will be affected by the average heart rate of the festival visitors (fed virtually from the KeJi Bounce game) and its gradient colour and facial expressions will indicate its mood (red = angry/stressed to yellow=happy, blue-chilled and green = lonely). KeJi’s mood will also affect its response in communicating with visitors through tweets and sms txts.

Keji Fact Sheet

To find out more about Cheltenham Science Festival, please go to:

Plymouth University at the Cheltenham Science Festival:

Image: Vince Cable meets Keji.


KeJi is a collaborative commission by Cheltenham Science Festival and i-DAT, Plymouth University, of the artist and designer Nathan Gale. The project is made possible through sponsorship from leading audio visual solutions providers, Pyramid.

Nathan Gale –

Nathan Gale was art director of leading communication arts journal, Creative Review, for almost ten years. In that time he worked with some of the best creative minds in the industry – from designer Peter Saville, to advertising agency Mother. He has been on the judging panels of numerous awards, including D&AD, and has lectured at various institutions around the country. He has also written for, or been interviewed about his work by, publications such as étapes and FairyTale magazine.

Over the years, Gale’s work has been recognised and awarded by his peers. His work can be found in select D&AD annuals, was nominated as one of the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year awards, and was awarded a Silver at the Art Directors’ Club awards in New York. Gale currently works under the name of Intercity. With a network of collaborators from the worlds of art, design, photography, illustration, digital media and beyond, Intercity applies a highly creative and considered approach across a range of areas including fashion, music, publishing, branding and advertising. In addition to producing high-end graphic design, Gale also specialises in live art projects and exhibition curation.

Cheltenham Science Festival –

This summer on 12–17 June, over 300 of the world’s greatest thinkers, comedians, writers and scientists will come together to celebrate and explore all things scientific for The Times Cheltenham Science Festival 2012. Cheltenham Festivals is one of the leading cultural organisations in the country with the four festivals boasting combined ticket sales of over 150,000 and enjoying enviable international reputations as leaders in their own fields.

i-DAT –

i-DAT (Institute of Digital Art and Technology), based at Plymouth University, has since 1998 been delivering dynamic research, digital production and collaboration with leading researchers, artists and industry professionals, bridging the gap between academic research and real world engagement to generate social, economic and cultural benefit. i-DAT’s services and activities, produced through playful interactions with new modes of creativity and research, span the cultural, commercial, educational and third sectors.

Plymouth University –

Plymouth University is one of the UK’s largest universities, with a world-renowned reputation in the research areas of marine and coastal, technology, computer science, environmental, economic and social sustainability, creative and cultural economies, health, nursing and biomedicine, and pedagogic research/innovation. The University has leapt 15 places to join the top 50 UK universities in research performance, results showing that overall, 80 per cent of our research was judged as being of international repute.

Pyramid –

Pyramid is one of the UK’s leading audio visual solutions providers. Pyramid prides itself on delivering the best solutions for awards ceremonies, conferences or roadshows. Their skilled team of production and event staff has a range of creative solutions and ideas to make your event run smoothly, with maximum impact and value for money. Their award winning AV team has extensive knowledge in all areas of the design and installation of audio visual solutions. They supply all levels of audio visual equipment into a wide range of sectors, and have over 15 years’ experience in providing support and installation solutions to demanding clients, including MOD and government agencies, commercial, worship, hospitality and luxury sectors. Their offices are in London, Devon and Cornwall, and work across Europe on a regular basis meaning you can rely on their extensive coverage.