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David McGoran

Rusty Squid Ltd

David is a co-founder and artistic director of Rusty Squid

co-founder and artistic director of Rusty Squid

co-founder and artistic director of Rusty Squid


How To Build A Robot

What would happen if you found an abandoned robot alone in the streets at night Would you stop? Would you touch it and share your thoughts and vulnerabilities? And would this alter your perception of what you are?

Puppet Presence Rusty squid

What can robotic tele-presence research learn from the art of puppetry?
Heart Robot - Rusty Squid

Heart Robot

A puppeteer gently moves Heart Robot, cradling it like a child. Blinking slowly, it seems sleepy and shy, or wide awake and curious, drawing us to connect, to interact. Holding its hand, you feel it sense and clasp yours.

Worked on

Image: Shamphat Photography

RAM Workshop

In 2016 dancers, artists, circus performers and choreographers experimented with RAM developed by YCAM from Japan. RAM uses motion capture sensors to create real-time visual feedback through virtual environments.
Heartfelt Rusty Squid


Heartfelt takes us on a journey of stirring emotion and adrenalin; as musicians play, cardiac sensors monitor their hearts, transmitting their heartbeats into our hands.
Bookhive - Rusty Squid


In our emerging digital and virtual age, what value does the embodied nature of our libraries and their physical books have? Rusty Squid answered this question with Bookhive. Books at play in a digital realm.

Being There

Being There brings a group of brilliant creative practitioners, technologists and academics together to explore how cutting-edge robotics can enable people to participate in public space.
The Question Extent

The Question

In a pitch-black theatre, a lotus flower unfurls in the hand of its keeper. This watchful apparatus guides the audience through an unseen space, helping them to navigate sensory ‘islands’ through touch and sound.

David is a robotic artist and designer, researcher and educator, dancer and puppeteer. He is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada and has a Bsc in Robotics from the University of the West of England.

 David's consultancy and lecturing work address the space where the moving arts, such as animatronics and puppetry,  intersect with science and technology. He is a co-founder and current creative director of Rusty Squid, a Bristol-based studio exploring primal emotions in embodied machines.

Recent Employment:

            David has worked part-time as a research associate with the Centre for Fine Print Research, the University of the West of England, where he explores the potential of combining interactive technology within contemporary 3D fabricating techniques.  For the past 5 years,' he has been senior technical instructor within the Fabrication Centre, the University of the West of England, where he founded and managed the TechLab teaching electronic, digital and kinetic arts


David has trained extensively within the visual and performing arts from studying fine art at the Emily Carr School of Art and Design, to studying clown at L'ecole Philippe Gaulle. David is a classically trained dancer and has intensively studied movement analysis, physical theatre, and puppetry. He has danced with EDAM Dance Company in Vancouver, the Oden Physical Theatre in Norway and with the internationally renowned dance-clown company Dario in Dresden.  After an extensive apprenticeship with Mermaid Puppet Theatre in Nova Scotia, David has worked as a puppeteer with the likes of Bread and Puppet in Vermont, and Green Ginger in Bristol. David is an accomplished animatronics puppet designer/ animator, an experienced bunraku puppeteer and has worked with Muppets on Children’s TV. David has performed and exhibited internationally with his unique puppet-robot hybrid creations.


David’s work interrogates the ongoing co-evolution between technology, humanity and nature. It provokes fresh perspectives on the intimate, playful and inseparable relationship they have. He re-frames technology as profoundly bound to our humanity and not outside of nature as popular contemporary belief views it. David trained as a robotic engineer with the specific goal of bringing cutting-edge control and sensor technology along with artificial intelligence back to his performing and visual arts practice.  Strongly influenced by his background in dance, movement analysis, puppetry David goes back to first principles of how movement is generated by designing new actuators and mechanisms explicitly to explore the embodied and the paralinguistic. His work is provocative, humorous, unsettling, tender and childlike. This embodied language of movement and interaction triggers primal awakening where the human animal is remembered.

David is fascinated by reflexes, social animals, embodiment, infants, emergence, toys, and aging.

Studio themes