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An imagined future for robotics performed on stage

Four QUT-trained dancers performed an innovative contemporary dance work featuring passive, robotic exoskeleton suits at Robotronica 2019.

It was the Australian debut for Repeat at QUT’s biennial festival of robotics. In an atmospheric Gardens Theatre Studio, two performances gave full audiences an opportunity to view a speculative industrial future from the perspective of a renowned machine artist and a choreographer/artist-researcher.

In the midst of promises and fears surrounding robots and artificial intelligence, especially in the manual labour sector, Repeat attempts to imagine the illusory dance moves of the so-called augmented body tainted with the gender stereotypes of human ballet duets.

The dancers, three QUT Dance Performance alumni and one current student, were fitted with industrial exoskeletons used in industry to allow workers to carry out heavier tasks while protecting their human bodies.

Hear from the dancers and learn all about the process behind developing the show below.

Created by QUT Creative Lab Director Professor Louis-Philippe Demers in partnership with Dr Stephanie Hutchison, a choreographer, performer and artist-researcher at QUT, Repeat shifts the performing body of the assembly line into the performing body onstage, unceasingly carrying out its tasks.

“Repeat is symbolic of a future in which humans and machines become one as a worker. The next wave of robotics in the workplace will see us collaborating with them,” said Professor Demers.

Professor Demers also uses robotic exoskeleton suits in other works, like Inferno, where the suits are activated and choreographed to a pulsing dance track. Read a review on Wired

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