kwaadbloed – Ugo Dehaes


Arena is the first project of the Forced Labor cycle by the Belgian choreographer Ugo Dehaes.
In this installation the audience is invited to interact with 8 robots and to help them become better dancers.

Ugo has been making dance performances for the last 20 years with a wide variety of dancers. Lately he shifted his focus to become a Choreographer Of Things. Following the trend in other sectors, Ugo fired all of his dancers and decided to replace them by robots.

In this installation he uses artificial intelligence and the help of the audience to train his robots so that one day they will be able to create a dance performance all by themselves.

The audience is invited to manipulate some of the robots by grabbing them and moving them around with their hands. The AI formulates an answer to this input, creating a new dance. The generated choreography can be voted on in a next installation, so the AI can understand what movements work best. Another robot can be frozen with a button whenever it reaches an interesting position. These snap-shots form the basis of new AI-choreography inspired by the audience. Some robots are only to be observed, like Runner, a robot that slowly learns how to run. At first he makes random movements, while recording the distance he travels. By recombining and improving these steps he slowly starts to run faster and faster.

“Forced Labor: Arena is a must-see for everyone who kicks on AI, interactive art, experimental dance and ethical questions!” (CLUB CULTUUR)

© Ugo Dehaes

An installation by: Ugo Dehaes 
Music: Roeland Luyten
Socles: H[art]wood

Production: kwaad bloed 
Coproduction: C-TAKT, Feikes Huis Amsterdam 
With the support of: VGC

Thanks to: Rebecca Flores, Gertjan Biasino, Marie Peeters and the AI Experience Center of VUB