Human-robot chemistry created on the dance floor

29 February 2016

Award-winning Taiwanese dancer, choreographer and inventor Huang Yi to dance alongside KUKA, his robot companion.

Huang Yi and Kuka

Huang Yi and Kuka

The line between humans and robots will blur when award-winning Taiwanese dancer, choreographer and inventor Huang Yi performs alongside his robot companion, KUKA, at the Seymour Centre from 16 to 19 March.

With razor sharp precision and stunning artistry, Huang Yi and KUKA harmoniously weave together the art of modern dance with the science of mechanical engineering and the realm of robotics.

During the one hour performance, Huang Yi and KUKA raise important questions about the role of artificial intelligence in human lives now and in the future, and if it is indeed possible for humans to have meaningful interaction with machines. 

“Dancing face to face with a robot is like looking at my own face in a mirror... I think I have found the key to spin human emotions into robots,” says Huang Yi.

Joining Huang Yi and KUKA on stage are dancers Hu Chien and Lin Jou-Wen. Intertwining continuous movement with mechanical and multimedia elements, Huang Yi creates a form of dance that corresponds with the flow of data.

Named by Dance Magazine USA as one of the ‘25 to Watch’ in 2016, Huang Yi is widely considered as one of Asia’s most prolific choreographers. This latest production sees Huang Yi conceptualise dance moves between himself and KUKA, a miraculous feat, with ten hours spent to program just one minute of robot movement.

The Huang Yi and KUKA performance is a special event at the ROB|ARCH2016 conference, hosted by the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning in collaboration with five other Australian universities. Held every two years, the conference is the largest gathering of robotics researchers in architecture and design from around the world.

“Huang Yi and KUKA’s performance brings to life the creative potential of human-robot interaction, which is one key aspect of our robotics research in architecture. It is the perfect partner event for the ROB|ARCH 2016 Robots in Architecture, Art and Design conference,” said Dr Dagmar Reinhhardt, Conference Chair of Rob|Arch2016, University of Sydney.

The ROB|ARCH 2016 international workshops and conference run 15-19 March at the Pier 2/3, Walsh Bay. As part of this, Huang Yi and Cole Belmont, from the Consortium for Research & Robotics in New York City, will hold a Q and A at the Seymour Centre after the performance on Thursday, 17 March. The speakers will discuss the potential impact of artificial intelligence on human lives now and in the future.

Mandy Campbell

Media and PR Adviser, Division of Architecture and Creative Arts

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