The Lamentations of Orpheus

Solo choreography for an orange industrial robot to Monteverdi’s aria from L’Orfeo in which Orpheus sings out his sorrow over Euridice’s death, vowing to descend to the underworld to bring her back to earth.

This 170 cm high and 500 kg heavy robot consists of three segments, three joints and a grip. The robot movements are choreographed in the Swedish computer program Motographicon.

Below the first 20 seconds of the choreography, where the Motographicon code is translated to the ABB-robot code.

(TIME  100)

(bodyturn (r 0)(d 50))
(rwrist (r 0)(v 0)(d 50))
(RELBOW (R 0) (D 50))
(RARM (V 90) (D 50))
(WAIST (V 0) (D 50))
(time 700)
(rarm (v 155)(d 750))
(time 1450)
(rarm (V 0)(D 100))
(time 1550)
(bodyturn (dr 170)(d 750))
(RARM (V 155) (D 750))


WaitTime DT( 1.0);
MoveAbsJ  [[0,0,0,0,0,0],ep], vmax \T:=DT( 1.5), fine, tool0;
WaitTime DT( 7.0);
MoveAbsJ  [[0,0,-60,0,0,0],ep], vmax \T:=DT(14.5), tz, tool0;
MoveAbsJ  [[0,0,65,0,0,0],ep], vmax \T:=DT(15.5), tz, tool0;
MoveAbsJ [[-110,-45,-55,0,0,0],ep], vmax \T:=DT(20.0), tz, tool0;

Åsa Unander-Scharin

Claudio Monteverdi (from L’Orfeo, 1607)

ABB Robot IRB 1400

Magnus Lundin

Ensemble Fortezza (Carl Unander-Scharin/tenor, Keren Bruce/viola da gamba, Kerstin Frödin/recorder,
Urban Westerlund/organ)

Mateusz Herczka

2.50 minutes

First performance and commission:
The Dance Museum, Stockholm 1998
Asea Brown Bovery in Västerås 1999
Vetenskapsfestivalen Göteborg 2014

VIDA 2,0 Madrid, 1999
”Improving Life – the Design of Swedish Innovations” Universeum i Mexico City 2004-05
IDAT 99 Arizona State University 1999
Malmö Dansfestival 1999
Handelshögskolan, Stockholm 1999
Elpub99, Göteborg1999
Interactive Institute/CID/KTH Artnode 1999
Art Movement-festivalen, Visby 1999
Italienska kulturinstitutet, Stockholm 1999
International Media Dance, Paris 2000
Monaco Danses Dances Forum 2000
Lithuanian Dance festival, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2000
Växjö Konserthus, 2000
Junge hunde-festivalen i Köpenhamn 2001
Utrecht 2001 Danserotation 2001
Kvinnor Kan-konferens 2007
Norrbottensakademien 2007
Yokohama Dance Collection 2009
Reaktorhallen, KTH, 2010
Stockholm Royal Opera, 2012
Scenkonstbiennalen, Jönköping, 2013

Honorary mention to
Åsa Unander-Scharin,
for “The Lamentations
of Orpheus”

— An installation whose compelling aesthetic relies on the sophistication of its principal element, an industrial robot whose choreographed movement are attuned to music from Monteverdis L´Orfeo. 

We described your work in the presentation as a beautifully executed metaphor for alife, and I think that it really does capture our human projections onto machines in an exquisite way. We pointed out that i tremains a metaphor because the robot is not autonomous in its environment, in fact it is very visibly controlled and so it makes an ironic twist on a familiar cultural interdependence between choreographer and dancer. To me it implies an interesting relational equality between human and robot, so although as an image it reminds me of the famous pixar luxor lamp, it acquires its lifelikeness in a more subtle way.

LIFE 2.0 is the first international competition seeking exellence in artistic creation that has embedded in it the practices of Artificial Life (A-Life). We are looking for art works that are premised on the strategies of A-Life research, its conceptual approaches as well as its methods of digital synthesis, art that reflects upon the panorama of potential interaction between synthetic “life” and organic life.”

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