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The Uncanny Robots Project

Examining human-robot interactions through dance and performance.

This project aims to explore the possibilities of human-robot interactions through means not normally used. In a trans-disciplinary, research-creation activity, the project blurs the lines of not only the performance/audience being human/non-human, but the space itself acting as both a site of creation and an interactive character, contributing to the narrative. The medium of dance has been an inherently human mode of expression and performance. With technology affecting so many areas of our experience, what, and how, can a technological actor contribute to this physical performance mode, and influence our understanding of ourselves and the role of technology.

This performance is the first phase of the project and acts as a proof-of-concept of developing a larger work. In it we present a 20-minute dance duet choreographed by and featuring Belinda McGuire, and a KUKA robot. Further research aims include exploring machine learning and improvisation techniques. As well we aim to develop a digital choreographic library of movement that can act as a dataset in further robotic and technological dance development.

Produced with funding and assistance from:

Design Technology Lab at The Creative School; Performance at The Creative School, Toronto Metropolitan University.

The Uncanny Robots Project full presentation at the opening of the Design Technology Lab, October 2019.

Director of the Design Technology Lab at The Creative School: Jonathon Anderson

Lighting Designer: Sam Skynner

Costume Designers: Alessia Urbani & Andrew Nasturzio

Technical Directors: Scott Martin, Josh Capodagli, Bonnie Thomson

Stage Manager: Nicholas Fassbender

Research Assistant: Sasha Anderson

Drone and 3D scanning consultant: Jimmy Tran

Video Producer: Lee Foster

Camera Operators: Chris Wilson, Mike Donis

Editor: Bryan Piggott

Special Thanks: Alex Alphonso, Mitchell Ayres, Theo Belc, Cherie Chiu, Betty Fan, Rowan Jones, Cory Macmillan, Katie Norman, Caroline Rodway, Emilie Trimbee, Kim Schaedlich, Performance Studio Crew