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Catie was a 2018 ThoughtWorks Arts Resident, under the theme "Mechanical and Movement: Robotics". More about her residency can be found here and more about the piece can be found here. She collaborated with ThoughtWorks developers and the Consortium for Research and Robotics staff to create OUTPUT, a project including live performance, robotics, motion capture, custom software, short films, an improvisational structure, and a method for choreographing robots. The ABB IRB 6700 industrial robot named Wen is used throughout the piece, as a method of sourcing movement and character. Catie was drawn to the aesthetic and motion qualities of the robot and elected to reframe it as a choreographic source and character.
One central artistic motivation is to illuminate how bodies - of both humans and robots - are mediated and represented through technology. These representations, when embedded into a performance context with the “real” bodies, show how much emotion and expression is lost and transformed across time and reprocessing.
CONCAT is a new tool, built for this project, in order to visualize various moving bodies in portable interfaces. The CONCAT tool was programmed in openFrameworks, using data from the Microsoft Kinect Visual Studio and HAL. MOSAIC was also developed for this project by creative coder Jason Levine. MOSAIC patches short videos together using keyboard commands, much like a loop pedal for choreographed movement.
OUTPUT premiered at the 10th Annual Collaborations in Dance Festival at Triskelion Arts (September, 2018) and was demonstrated at the TED Education Weekend (October, 2018), Pioneer Works Second Sundays (April, 2019), and the Dance USA Conference (June, 2019).
A recent academic paper, “OUTPUT: Translating Robot and Human Movers Across Platforms in a Sequentially Improvised Performance”, was published in the Movement that Shapes Behaviour symposium at the 2019 AISB Convention.
time to compile
Catie became Artist-in-Residence at her Robotics, Automation, and Dance (RAD) Lab in 2017 at the invitation of lab director and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Science and Engineering, Amy LaViers. Catie, Amy, graduate student Ishaan Pakrasi, and the RAD Lab’s collaboration has resulted in an artistic work-in-progress, currently titled Time to Compile , as well as research on human robot interaction and entrepreneurial exploration regarding affective, expressive modifications to robots. Catie then became a Research Technician in the RAD Lab as a result of this collaboration.
We live in a world where people exist side by side even when separated by 1000s of miles and a time when data of human individuals is constantly being captured, influencing later unanticipated situations with unknown agents. Today there are more devices than humans connected to the internet. “Time to Compile” (as an artistic piece) is an embodied analog for this Internet of Things where audience members can make sense of this new “place” and this “time”.
The mood of the piece is distant and remote yet sparkly and intriguing. Soft elements like sheets, sex, and skin are used to contrast the hard lines of robots, virtual avatars, and transistors. Active, mobile lighting elements cast shadows of both human and robot performers, delineating another world on stage.
Catie created the narrative, structure, and overall design of the piece. The various robots' movement sequences, dialogue, and responsive patterns were programmed in Choreographe and MATLAB/ROS. There are dialogues, videos, and choreographies for humans in Time to Compile.
Publications resulting from this work are linked below.
International Conference on Social Robotics (ICSR) paper: Perception of Control in Artificial and Human Systems: A Study of Embodied Performance Interactions
International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN) paper: CURTAIN and Time to Compile: A Demonstration of an Experimental Testbed for Human-Robot Interaction
International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) Robots & Art Forum paper: Time to Compile: Compliance Between Artistic Inquiry and Research Questions
MDPI Journal paper: Choreographic and Somatic Methods for the Development of Expressive Robotic Systems
Biennial Symposium Conference paper: Time to Compile: An Interactive Art Installation