Presentation of Self In Machine Life


The world has been driven apart by recent events, making long distance performative interactions difficult to achieve, dividing those working in multiple regions even further. How shall we reclaim cultural exchange between the US and Hong Kong during this time of isolation? We created an art technology performance exchange between New York Hall of Science (NYSCI, The Brick Theater) and City University of Hong Kong's Studio for Narrative Spaces. To bridge the 12 hour divide, we enabled a morning performance in New York presented by reknowned dancer Mizuho Kappa and choregraphed by RAY LC, which is simultaneously streamed live in the evening at the School of Creative Media, where a robot arm enacts the movements undertaken by Mizuho. The live stream from Hong Kong is also shared with New York, enabling Mizuho and RAY to interactively alter the dance movements and choreography live through visual comparison with the robot, which imitates her head using its hand and her body using its arm.

The choreography follows Mizuho as she steps outside the digital realm of the virtual platform and into the physical stage, enticing the robot to dance with her. The robot starts with only block-like movements but eventually learns to mimic her with his body. Still he cannot run around or use hands like Mizuho, and eventually seeks the audience for help. Soon Mizuho begins performing actions that the arm is not capable of, such as jumping and lying flat on the ground, leading the robot to wonder on his own: is there also something I can do that the human cannot?

This work is published in Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction (CSCW).


RAY LC, Mizuho Kappa, Marco Lui, Koala Yip, Longman Luk


performance, installation, hci, web


New York Hall of Science, Brick Theatre Brooklyn, NY Foundation for the Arts, HKADC, IEEE VISAP