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The relationship between dance and robotic fabrication – with video

August 1, 2016


UCL’s Interactive Architecture Lab has developed a new type of choreography – one that explores the potential for dialogue between humans and robots – and the way we might design cooperatively in the future. Fabricating Performance is the brainchild of Syuko Kato and Vincent Huyghe, bringing together their specialisms of dance and robotic systems.

Inspired by existing notational languages in dance, Fabricating Performance evolves what have traditionally been graphic, symbolic systems and proposes a new way of interpreting and representing movement, through the generation of architectural-scale sculptures. We have designed a live custom-fabrication system, which combines methods of designing dance and architecture – and turns robots into creative collaborators. Body movement is tracked, analysed and translated into tool paths for fabrication by a robotic armature and an industrial CNC pipe bending machine. Discrete construction elements are fabricated in response to the dancer/designers performance.

Source: Syuko Kato, UCL Interactive Architecture Lab
Source: Syuko Kato, UCL Interactive Architecture Lab
Source: Syuko Kato, UCL Interactive Architecture Lab
Source: Syuko Kato, UCL Interactive Architecture Lab

Through the system, a dancer’s gestures are captured as motion data and interpreted into manufacturing protocols. These protocols become instructions that guide the fabrication of physical representations of the dance, which then exist within a shared arena. Repeating this process creates a continuous and constantly changing the conversation between human and robot, turning both into equally influential participants in a unique, interactive and iterative performance.

Source: Syuko Kato, UCL Interactive Architecture Lab
Source: Syuko Kato, UCL Interactive Architecture Lab
Source: Syuko Kato, UCL Interactive Architecture Lab
Source: Syuko Kato, UCL Interactive Architecture Lab
Source: Syuko Kato, UCL Interactive Architecture Lab
Source: Syuko Kato, UCL Interactive Architecture Lab

Read our paper for the Architecture In Play Conference July 2016.

Key references 

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Source of Figure

Positive space image: Gjon, Mili. (1947), Ballet Essay Stroboscopic image of ballerina Nora Kaye doing a pas de bourree. [Online] Available from: (Accessed: 12 June 2015).

Syuko Kato
guest author
Syuko Kato is a researcher at UCL Interactive Architecture Lab.

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