In 2016, I attempted to secure funding for a performance in which an on-stage humanoid robot would have improvised along with its human co-performers. The attempt was not successful and the performance was realized without the robot in 2017 (Mind Machine, Kiasma Theater). The original proposal, however, stayed in my thoughts even after the production, in part because it was the result of a fascinating dialogue with researchers in computational creativity, robotics, and speech synthesis: Hannu Toivonen and Martti Vainio from the University of Helsinki, and Ville Kyrki from Aalto University. It seemed to me that contrasting the networked performance of a humanoid robot to that of differently networked human performers opened up many pertinent questions concerning improvisation, creativity, cognition, and performance itself. This is why I have taken this opportunity to create a video in which the original proposal for Mind Machine is re-imagined by synthetic voices. The as of yet unrealized performance with a robot is, in a sense, superimposed on images of the realized performance without robot, in the hope that the former will one day be performed too.
Hayles, N. Katherine. 2017. Unthought – The Power of the Cognitive Nonconscious. Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press.
Tiedeykkönen: Voivatko tietokoneet olla luovia. Audio program Yle Areena May 3, 2017. areena.yle.fi/audio/1-4131181. Accessed May 10, 2017.