Human Interface is a piece for two dancers and two industrial robots by dancer-choreographer Thomas Freundlich. The programmed movements of the robots are mechanically precise, yet surprisingly human. The robots are like animate beings with their own personalities, the equals of their human dance partners. The groundbreaking technology used in this production enables safe movement – for the first time ever – within the immediate proximity of industrial robots. The spacious Pannuhalli stage at Helsinki's Cable Factory provides an interesting post-industrial backdrop for the unprecedented encounter between robots and humans.
"One of the most fascinating aspects of working with industrial robots is our incredibly strong tendency to see machines as living, even conscious creatures. Strangely, the robots often seem to be at their most interesting when they're programmed to move least like machines. If you make the robot move like a bird, dinosaur or some weird creature we don't even have a name for – well, all of a sudden you get involvement, you get empathy, you get a genuine emotional connection with a machine that's designed to weld cars. This I find incredibly fascinating, as it leads us into some very deep pathways of thought in evolutionary biology and psychology."
Choreography, robot programming: Thomas Freundlich
Dance: Tanja Illukka, Thomas Freundlich, industrial robots ABB IRB 4600 and IRB 2600ID
Set design: Markku Salo
Lighting design: Mia Kivinen
Music: Rene Ertomaa
Robots & technical consulting: ABB
Photos: Johanna Tirronen
Production: Zodiak – Center for New Dance, Thomas Freundlich
Premiere: Tue 22.5.2012 at Pannuhalli, Cable factory, Helsinki
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