‘Beyond Body and Things’ by Neon Dance explores social connectivity and collaboration using bio-inspired robotics. The work is designed to unravel the origins of loneliness and explores the idea that loneliness stems from the interaction of the individual with the social realm, so that it is not just mental, but also physical, sensorial, and material.
Adrienne Hart (Neon Dance) presented her work both at Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale 2018 and Setouchi Art Triennale 2019. It was this experience of working with rural communities in Japan that led the artist to consider why, given our hyper connectivity, loneliness is so prevalent today. ‘Beyond Body and Things’ invites participants to enter the installation and leave their mark in sand whilst interacting with robot creatures and a virtual performer. The work is an attempt to cultivate the ‘architectural body’—a concept formulated by Madeline Gins and Arakawa—as a potential cure to loneliness. Perhaps there’s little room for loneliness if life is a stream of constant connections where one relates not just to people but also objects and environment.
‘Beyond Body and Things’ is a collaborative work developed in 2021-22, during which time Neon Dance ran a series of ‘co-creation’ workshops with Bristol Robotics Lab, sharing and inviting members of the public to feed into the robot creation process. There are 2 twin robots that feature in ‘Beyond Body and Things’ with turtle inspired feet. The robots use tele-operation to enable a live performer from the UK to respond to audience members physically. Kneel down next to one and hold out your hand to become an attractor, the robots will follow and respond to your movement. At the end, step back and observe the sand painting created by both robot and human bodies.
November 3, 4, and 5 2022
@Former YOSHIDA Sake Brewery, Tadotsu town, Kagawa, Japan
Setouchi Triennale 2022 https://setouchi-artfest.jp/en/
Concept / Direction:
Adrienne Hart in collaboration with Fukiko Takase
Robot Design and Concept
Bristol Robotics Lab (Hemma Philamore, Alix Partridge and Calum Gillespie)
Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grants, Brigstow Institute, The
Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and EPSRC Impact Acceleration Fund.
Swindon Dance, University of Bristol, The Place, Wellcome Collection, Bristol
Beacon, Dance4, South East Dance, Reversible Destiny Foundation and Arakawa
+ Gins Tokyo Office
Top image: Photo by Miles Hart