Bernal Neighbor, Now Studying in Barcelona, Creates Rather Intense Robot-Enhanced Dance Video


Neighbor Carmen is from Bernal Heights, but she’s now finishing up a grad program in glamorous Barcelona, Spain, where she just produced a rather intensely lovely video piece. “I’m a Bocana kid, missing SF, wanting my neighbors to see what we Bernalites are capable of,” she said in her email to us.

Amen to that. Here are Neighbor Carmen’s technical notes:

This is my last project at IAAC, in Barcelona. Our school has a digital fabrication laboratory, and one of our tools is a 6 axis Kuka Robot. My latest research has been focused on exploring the aesthetic dimension of robotic movement. Since I’m studying interaction design, and using technology to augment the human experience I created a dance piece that allows us to question the rigid definition of what is human and what is machine as well as how we interact with the machines we use.

The simple run down:

In order to do this, I built a symbol movement language, based on traditional movements such as a circle, rotation, curve, wave, extension, contraction, line, meander. A sequence of moves were put together to create a visual choreography that I gave to the dancer. I then asked her to interpret it, intuitively with her body or through the space. The same sequence was given to the robot through code, and the kuka moved along that path in space the orientation of its tool moved along the path. This process makes the input parameters the same for both beings yielding spontaneous results. Without knowing the outcome, and being able to change the choreography and dancer I was looking for spontaneous connections between the two.

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