Choreographer Ugo Dehaes has been exploring for several years how to make dance without dancers. To do this, he dove into robotics and technology. In Arena (2020), he built interactive installations where the audience itself manipulated and judged robots so that they could dance independently. In Simple Machines (2021), Ugo used organic robots to show how he cultivated and trained a company of mechanical dancers so they could take over the roles of dancers and even choreographers. In LIMP, Ugo once again works with a real dancer for the first time in a long time. Only this time, the creation relies entirely on the collaboration between humans and technology. After the dystopian visions of the earlier work, in LIMP we get a glimmer of hope for humanity.
Thanks to a high-tech, robotic foot prosthesis, an amputee dancer is back on stage. The technology gives him the balance, mobility, strength and confidence needed to perform choreography. The dance material arises from movements demonstrated by a self-built robot. This robot looks nothing like a human, so it requires a great deal of creativity on the part of the dancer to adapt the movements to a human body. Once the dancer has learned these moves, they are filmed and enter a computer. A specially designed artificial intelligence analyzes these images, learns the style and then independently generates new pieces of choreography to be re-learned by the dancer. In this way, Ugo as choreographer is also supported by technology and they build the performance together.
LIMP comes about thanks to an intense collaboration with The AI Experience Centre at the VUB, and the start-up Axiles Bionics who are working on the next generation of bionics.