The play between two dancers calls for trust. Yet what if one of them is a robot? A DUET OF HUMAN AND ROBOT, is a contemporary dance from Taiwan, which provides the answer on stage. A man, who has grown emotionally barren, and a machine with human intelligence are locked in an inimitable duet.
Together they create an astonishing demonstration of the future; or rather, of our day, where people and smart machines already coexist. The dance is not a mere reflection of the beauty in both mechanics and body movements. The dance is an interpretation of the hidden emotions of out time. A performance that calls for thought.
Dancing face to face with a robot is like looking at myself in a mirror… I think I have found the key to spin human emotions into robots. — Huang Yi
As a child, he longed for a robot companion. As an adult, he created a robot in order to dance with it. Acclaimed Taiwanese choreographer and dancer Huang Yi and his robot companion KUKA will bring uncompromising precision and skill to Plovdiv.
Blending art and science, body movements and mechanical engineering, A DUET OF HUMAN AND ROBOT is a poetic work with a pertinent message. Human nature is revealed through dance, visual art, and robotics.
Huang Yi and KUKA are joined on stage by dancers Hu Chien and Lin Jou-Wen.
I was born in a wealthy family. When I was 10, my parents went bankrupt. My family of four moved from a splendid house to a 40-square foot room. As a child, who was constantly moving from one tiny room to another and seeing my parents go through suicide attempts, I grew up knowing that I had to be perfect. I grew detached from my emotions in order to be that perfect child, and be like a robot: obedient, friendly, outstanding, considerate, never rebellious, and without much personality.
As a child my favorite cartoon was Doraemon: a Japanese animation character and a cat robot which is always there to solve problems for his owner. Ever since then I have been involved with robots. Is it because they are unconditionally loyal? Or is it because they are objective and altruistic? Thankfully, my parents didn’t mind me becoming a professional artist. Art became for me the best outlet for my suppressed emotions. That is why I wanted to find a way to dance with a robot.
While I did my research on advanced industrial robots, KUKA stood out for me for its stability, and fluid design. In 2010, I called the company which produced it in Taiwan. I told them about my idea, and they replied, “According to regulations, when the robot is in operation, humans must keep away from the circumscribed area of operation. If you find a way around that, we will let you use KUKA.”
I found a way, and now, thanks to Quanta Arts Foundation in Taiwan, I have my robot.
For me, A DUET OF HUMAN AND ROBOT is a process of giving beauty to the sorrow and sadness of my childhood. It is the expression of loneliness, doubt, self-awareness, and courage. I tried to create a beautiful illusion just to assure the others that everything was fine. I wanted to remind humanity of our simple conviction that we are all just grown up kids, but still kids.
Developed in Germany as an industrial innovation, KUKA is a robot with mechanical hand applied in many factories. However, one machine takes on the role of a dancer. The robot is programmed particularly by Huang Yi for this production. It’s worth saying that 1-minute of its choreography takes about 10 hours in manual setting. KUKA weighs 274 kg, and with its platform and stabilizing weights, the total stage weight equals 795 kg.
Duration: 60 minutes
Attention: There are lasers and bright light used in the performance.
HUANG YI & KUKA is an orginial production by Huang Yi Studio +, developed in 3LD Art & Technology Center, in collaboration with Sozo Artists. Commissioned by Quanta Arts Foundation
Photos: © Jacob Blickenstaff and last shot is by © Summer Yen
The show will be presented in Plovdiv with the support of Ministry of Culture Republic of China (Taiwan).