Event

Robot

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Tours

13 January 2018
Centre Culturel Jacques Duhamel
Vitré / France
26 October 2017
(3 shows on Oct 26, 27 and 28)
Opera de Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv / Israel
22 February 2017
(5 représentations du 22 au 25 février)
Barbican Theater
London / Royaume Uni
18 January 2017
(18, 19, 21, 22 janvier)
Cel Stage
Seoul / Corée
14 December 2016
Centre Culturel Aragon
Oyonnax (01) / France
10 September 2016
(les 10 et 11 septembre )
L'Escale
Tournefeuille (31) / France
04 August 2016
(4, 5, 6 août à 19:00 International Arts carnival festival)
Kwai Tsing Theater
Kwai Chung / Hong Kong
24 May 2016
Le Théâtre Scène Nationale
Macon / France
26 February 2016
(2 représentations)
Le Zéphyr, EPCC Les Trois Fleuves
Cayenne / Guyane Française
13 February 2016
Théâtre des Sablons
Neuilly sur Seine (92) / France

A Blanca Li Dance Company creation,
In collaboration with Maywa Denki and in partnership with Aldebaran Robotics.

Premiere: Festival Montpellier Danse 2013

PRESS REVIEW

Artistic direction and choreography: Blanca Li
Show with the musical machines from Maywa Denki and NAO robots
Music: Tao Gutiérrez, Maywa Denki and Jean-Pierre Taïeb
Scenography: Pierre Attrait
Lights: Jacques Chatelet
Video: Charles Carcopino
Robot programmer: Thomas Pachoud

with
Yacnoy Abreu Alfonso
Iris Florentiny
Geraldine Fournier

Yann Herve
Samir M'Kirech
Margalida Riera Roig
Gael Rougegrez
Yui Sugano

other dancers from previous casts
Jonathan Ber
Emilie Camacho
Tamara Fernando
Aliashka Hilsum
Africa Manso
Aurore Mettray

ROBOT

Day and night, inside our homes and in the outside world, on earth and in the sky, we live with and among machines of all kind, our memory is becoming artificial, our footprints tend to be only electronic, our identity is partly digital. Robots, machines, computers in the shape of cars or cell phones, touch-sensitive (what else ?!) screens that children use naturally, interactive terminals and automatic vending-machines, RFID tags, bar codes, monitoring devices, flash codes, geotracking of people and things, online avatars... Every day we interact with numerous machines, some of them automatic, most of them electronic, a few of them would be thinking-machines. All of them reflecting our choices, our actions and our tastes.

In January 2011, I met MAYWA DENKI, and it all began. These contemporary Japanese artists playfully evolve in a wonderful world of living objects: low-tech, nonsense and refinement are keywords. Then I met NAO, the humanoid robot, and everything took shape. I suddenly felt like staging the relationships between human bodies and artificial ones. Where are the borders between ‘us’ and ‘them’ ? Can the most sophisticated machines stand in for the Man-Nature relationship ? Will the robots be capable of integrating the idea of creation one day ? As we teach them to become more and more complex, how will they complement our life ? What kind of society will arise from it? The machines are impacting our daily routines more and more. What will happen when thinking machines understand data, concepts, and behaviour too complex for humans to grasp? If the robots get humanised by shape and communication skills, shall we humans become robotised hybrids or androids ? Can a machine, even an evolved one, replace relationships to the living ? Will our rebotic alter egos express fellings some day ? What would society be like then ? Will they be a refletion of what humanity uncousciously wants to represent ? As robots are looking more and more like men, will men be looking like robots, hybrids, androids ?

I will tackle these questions in a choreography for 8 dancers whose movements will trigger the Maywa Denki nonsense musical devices. The appearance of a few NAO will be far from a trivial detail: it will carry the interchangeability of men and machines to extremes.

Man-machines, electromechanical automatons, electronic robots : 3 kinds of relationship to the world, 3 evolutionary stages ? The show will present 3 ways of exploring the interactions between them, in an absurd and poetic way.

Blanca Li

Artistic Team

Three of Blanca Li's closest collaborators, the dream team that produced the most acclaimed shows of the Blanca Li Company (Corazon Loco, Poeta en Nueva York and the Garden of Delights) are working on Robot !

Lights: Jacques Chatelet, lighting and light installations for many world renowned lyrical and choreographic shows
Scenography: Pierre Attrait, film set designer, scenographer of great lyrical and theatre shows, artistic director of events like the Rose Ball.
Videos: Charles Carcopino, videographer, exhibition curator, in charge of the Studio de la Maison des Arts et de la Culture of Créteil since 2000.

MAYWA DENKI

TOSA Nobumichi, President of the performers and contemporary art group known as Maywa Denki, is always dressed like the workers of his late father factory that he inherited to produce nonsense objects. These blue coveralls say something about the depersonalisation of automated work, and emphasise also the hyperpersonalisation of the contemporary artist who thinks of himself as a role, a leading part in the staging of his world filled with nonsense objects, strange creatures and stupid robots. These coveralls also say something about the manual labour and craftsmanship necessary for producing these “back-to-the-future” objects and works of art: a beautiful object is a well-made object.

Influenced by kinetic art and techno-pop, Maywa Denki creates low-tech prototypes made of resin and aluminium, elements in a behind-the-mirror world filled with humour, in which men and machines interact in a naturally way.

The musical devices of the Tsukuba series (organised like their traditional counterparts: violin, guitar, drums, voice and so on) are complex electrical devices which play actual music when activated by humans (via electromagnets or motors). No electronics here. The functional beauty of this machinery is made explicit at musical performances. These concerts challenge our contemporary world in which music became information, data flow, zeros and ones, as everything else. Maywa Denki musical instruments bring us back to substantial music and help us experience the sound in another way. Instead of smart-phone speakers bits, the real beat of live music generated on stage. Instead of playlist choices, the living art of improvisation. Instead of the digital sound produced by synthesizer or sampling, the crude sound of material objects. Unique and special objects, perfect robots shaped and conceived to help humans to be fun and witty !

Blanca & Nao © Ali Mahdavi

ALDEBARAN Robotics

NAO talks, sees, walks, feels, dances, bends his knees, sways his shoulders, stands up again after falling; he can grasp objects and can communicate with his NAO fellows, with humans, with the Internet...
Developed by ALDEBARAN Robotics, NAO is a fully programmable humanoid robot, autonomous, and highly interactive. These features make him the most widely used humanoid robot for academic purposes worldwide (computer sciences, engineering, psychology...). NAO hopes to be available soon to the general public as a personal assistant. He is already the favourite playmate of Blanca !

58-cm tall, NAO has 2 arms, 2 legs, 2 eyes and a mouth, just like everybody else! Highly skilled in vocal and visual recognition, NAO can communicate in 8 languages, using a vocal synthesiser, LED lights, 2 HD cameras, 4 microphones and 2 high-fidelity speakers.
Fluid movement, sensory perception and obstacle avoidance (thanks to capture and pressure sensors as well as 25 joints) are some key-features which may make NAO the artificial companion of humans in need (like children with autism or the elderly) as well as the perfect play pal, in the near future. As a matter of fact, among all the robots Blanca has already met, NAO is by far the best dancer !

Coproduction

Festival Montpellier Danse 2013
Festival Automne en Normandie
Espace Jean Legendre Scène Nationale de l'Oise en préfiguration
Le Studio Maison des Arts de Créteil
In residence at the Centre des Arts d'Enghien, a subsidised theatre for digital scriptures

Management : Stéphane Hivert s.hivert(at)blancali.com

Press : Sébastien d'Assigny sdapresse(at)gmail.com