CREATION 2014 / Performance for a robot and a dancer / Book edited by Van Dieren Editeur, publication 26 June 2014


The project


Hello everyone,  Team Link Human / Robot is pleased to present its work through this call for participation.




Festival VIA, March 2014



Cover of the book


The flipbook


Le livre sortira le 26 juin 2014 à la librairie-galerie Le Monte-en-l'air, 2 rue de la Mare, 75020 Paris


Presentation of the event



An interdisciplinary reflection on contemporary robotics, which begins to penetrate our daily intimate and public spaces on the evolution of this unique relationship between robot and human to the possibility of the emergence of a new form of otherness.  Collective and autonomous object, this book extends beyond the research for the dance performance between a robot and a dancer. He also speaks of the territories crossed and shared between artists and scientists research.




The machine concept has often been mobilized by literature and film to serve as a mirror to the human. But imitate it is also interact.

An autopoietic machine continuously generates its own organization because it is constantly subject to external accidents. 









The story of Link Human / Robot began three years ago. Emmanuelle Grangier, visual artist, director and choreographer, questions the relationship we have with robots, these new social robots who learn as children and begin to live with us.  "These contemporary robots are still not very advanced but they are already capable of invention, surprise, some form of improvisation and this is what interests me."




“When I started thinking about this project, the hypothesis was :

in a particular situation of interaction between humans and robots, can it happen something that was not expected, emerge in the robot behaviors that are not written in, programmed. At this moment, can there be an emergence of some form of autonomy that would allow the emergence of a new form of otherness (non-human) to recognize the difference of this robotics form and upsetting our own humanity, understanding that we can and could call into question the tyranny of anthropocentrism that crosses our entire human history. 

And as an artist, my job would be to create this unique situation, a kind of interaction protocol suitable for this emergence. So, my job was actually not so far from that of a robotics researcher ... theoretically of course.




From the beginning, I thought this project as a collaborative and transdisciplinary space of research and creation where imagination, design could be shared. A few months later, I met Arnaud Revel is a robotics researcher at the University of La Rochelle. We meet on certain ideas, certain words like autopoiesis ....


We start working with Christine Niclas, dancer and choreographer, Arnaud Revel and Nao. The body and the concept of territories, spaces both confined and open environments, wild, the notion of accident, which was already present, then become very important.

To create the conditions of the experiment, we must, first of all, build a choreographic repertory for Nao. We learn to Nao, just as we teach a child, breaking down each movement. It is very long working hours are discontinuous. We are constrained by Nao temporality. At first it is very frustrating. We started working a gesture and we should continually interrupt. Dancers and dancers (humans) are much more resistant! The project is much fed from this experience.

As regards the contents of the repertory, the quality of gestures, initially we had imagined a number. But the majority of them proved impossible with the body of Nao. As in experiments, we have tamed his body, differences, peculiarities of its robotic morphology. He has a low center of gravity, a balance management very different from ours, based on a constant state of imbalance continuously compensated always with that slight lag which makes the recognizable robotic gait, inclination of the body incredibly superior to ours...

And we worked to understand and affirm differences. The uniqueness of this robotic body and its mechanisms. Never imitate to reproduce, imitation can sometimes be used to initiate a process of communication.







And this is the moment, a strange thing happened ... we all started to transmit things, Christine especially since Nao became his partner, intentions, traits, desires... Often empathize with him, sometimes surprised by a particular reaction. Sometimes admiring, sometimes annoyed ...

In general, we transmited a lot of complex cognitive abilities (just as we do with a small child). In discussing this with Joffrey Becker is an anthropologist, he told me that all anthropological studies with robots show that we have an irrepressible tendency to project on robots.

One hypothesis of contemporary robotics is that to design complex cognitive skills on our robots will eventually lead to the emergence of these behaviors as is also the case with the small child.


Making both our projections and tangible mechanisms of perception and analysis of its environment, it became obvious that Nao had its own perception of its environment very different from that of Christine, a singular way to capture the world.


At this time, I began to look very often running things through the eyes of Nao. It has two small cameras, one located approximately at eye level and another at the chin, which gives it a very close view of its environment.

In the performance, I wanted to show and bring face to face the subjective visions, that of Nao and the Christine.

So we guess the possibility of poetry, a robotic grace.

Another thing emerges from these learning experiences. The need, in interaction, to maintain, among other things, the desire for interaction, a continuity, proximity, recognition of something familiar. Play between identity and otherness.

The question of distance, the distance between the bodies, is therefore at the heart of choreographic issues. Continually adjust its distance to another (between points, in the dynamic lines). The issue of borders of bodies and their perception also arises.


We start working on the Manège theater stage. The performance to the test of the stage. The robot pose intrinsically the issue of space representation, the field of vision and off the field precisely because it makes no difference between the field and off the field. When he held his action, it is ultimately still in representation, or the opposite. Everything is both on and off camera.

This is what is on view in the performance, the field and off the field, without hierarchy, different areas with their own temporalities, space lab, space experience, representation, real-time performance, film, document ... and how these areas intersect and resonate with each other.


I remembered an observation that I had made watching a Robocup (international robotics competition where robots compete per team, each team being linked to a team of researchers, the chosen game is the football). I remember noting that sometimes a technical gesture, a kind of check gesture, came to interrupt the game. This gesture focused the viewer's attention and turned away, solving for a time, the question of the autonomy of the robot or not.


If I go back to the first idea, it was never induce hierarchy between human and robot but reciprocity in the interaction which will, of course, not to say similarities. That I understood much later, especially with the Robocup is that attention also needs to be shared between the robot and the human.


More we got into the project, the more my view sliding into the robot ... look through those eyes and to understand his way of understanding the environment, I tried to understand his language. I wanted from the start to use the Nao programming language as aesthetic material in itself. But when I had to write, for the eponymous publishing project, a text instead of Nao, I am interested in the shape, the structure of the language. And the question of language, specialist languages​​, dance, scientific, theoretical, natural and programming has suddenly found the heart of the project. This raises so more prevalent the issue of perception, more precisely prehension, different prehensions of the world. The existence of poetry and, in fact, the intrinsic relationship between the robot and art.

The robot is, in essence, a language being but a language that does not work at all like ours, which is what we call a language-action.





For three years, I realize interviews. The project began with them. Currently, there are thirty with very different people, whether or not knowledge or interest in this contemporary robotics. I ask them to imagine a robot that share their lives. This sort of anthropological dimension of the project can be found especially in the coexistence of existing robots and robots imagined through the entire performance to the end.

These interviews are also the origin of the book because I made the interview with each author and these interviews are transcribed in the book.





La première version de la performance a été présentée en juin 2012 au festival Bains numériques au Centre des arts d'Enghein-les-Bains, au 104 à Paris en juin 2013 à l'occasion du Festival Futur En Seine et à l’ENS à Lyon en novembre 2013.


The first version of the performance was presented in June 2012 to “Bains numériques“ festival, 104 in Paris in June 2013 and ENS Lyon in November 2013.


0.2 / 

L'équipe s'agrandit en septembre 2013. Amélie Carvalho, artiste plasticienne, est appelée pour créer des animations, ainsi que pour dessiner sur scène lors des représentations.

Alexandre Bissarette, régisseur, élabore et dirige la régie générale et vidéo.


  In March 2014, Guillaume Le Boisselier achieves its real-time performance. Etienne Landon joins for digital media. Marie Buyle creates light.  Musician and singer Dirty Coq, The Experimental Tropic Blues Band, attends the premiere for an extraordinary vocal attack!





This project has received the creation support of the DRAC Nord-pas-de-Calais in September 2013.

The digital design studio of the theatre Le Manège coproduced the project until the first performance, which took place March 21, 2014 for the VIA festival.


Residence at La Condition Publique (Tourcoing), February 2012

Residence KLAP (Marseille), March 2012

Residences at the Imaginarium (Tourcoing), April, May 2012 and April 2013

Residence and presentation of the first version of the performance at Centre des Arts d'Enghien-Les-Bains in June 2012

Residence and presentation of a step of creating at the Maison de l'étudiant of the University of La Rochelle, February 2014

Residence at the theater Le Manege (Maubeuge), June 2012, from October to January 2014

Residence at the Gare Numérique de Jeumont, from January to March 2014





Conference and performance to Fresnoy during the conference cycle "Arts, Science and Technology" in April 2012


Conference ESAD Valenciennes during the day search "Techno-aesthetic organizations: space and time images and reading devices" in May 2012

Conference "Art and Robotics" and round table "Robotics, a social technology? " in Scopitone festival in Nantes in September 2012

Presentation of the project for interregional meetings "interactive experiences" in Liège in November 2012.





The first performance took place at the “Gare numérique“ of Jeumont, March 21, 2014, during the VIA Festival. Festival VIA







The team



Whew! the first went well. Warm applause and good returns.


From left to right


Vocal and musical performance / Dirty Coq, The Experimental Tropic Blues Band

Conception and production / Emmanuelle Grangier

Digital control / Etienne Landon

Video control / Alexandre Bissarette

Choreography and dance / Christine Niclas

Robotics research and performer / Arnaud Revel

Drawing and performer / Amélie Carvalho

Sound / Guillaume Le Boisselier

Light / Marie Buyle


And Nao!







facebook link human/robot



The second representation will take place at the “Maison de l'étudiant“ in La Rochelle September, 26, 2014.






Link Human / Robot has evolved into a dance performance which builds a real-time relationship between a robot and a dancer. At the beginning the choreography is written then it slides towards improvisation for both the dancer and the robot.







From Frankenstein to 2001, A Space Odyssey until Real Humans, the notion of machine has often been mobilized by literature and film to serve as a mirror to the human. But imitate is also resonating, interact. An autopoietic machine continuously generates its own organization because it is constantly subject to external disturbances.


The book propose an interdisciplinary reflection on our relationship with these new social robots who learn as children and begin to penetrate our daily intimate and public spaces.



Link Human/Robot is a collective book edited by Emmanuelle Grangier

graphic creation by Sacha Léopold and François Havegeer, syndicat,



with Norbert Hillaire, artist and theoretician of art and technology, Laure Limongi, writer, Pierre-Yves Oudeyer, developmental robotics researcher, Elise Aspord, historian and curator, Joffrey Becker, anthropologist, Armelle Prigent, researcher network and games specialist, Christine Niclas, dancer and choreographer, Arnaud Revel, a robotics researcher and Emmanuelle Grangier, visual artist, director and choreographer.    This book is published by Van Dieren Publisher, independent publishing developing its collections in the fields of Philosophy, Theology, and Arts.






Naof Performance drawings




Why KissKissBankBank ?



The performance consists of a steel cube, video and audio devices that were partly self-financed by the team, as much of the creative work. Outside the residence time at the Theatre du Carousel, travel expenses, accommodation, transportation are the responsibility of each member.   That is why we call on you to support future of the performance. We have so far three dates in June 2014 in Paris (publishing of the book) in October in La Rochelle, in 2015 in Lyon. Our team works on the communication and dissemination of the project to get new performance dates.   But especially the part of the aid initially dedicated to the creation of the book has to be mobilized for the performance .... All text and items are now made, but there is more buget for printing So ... We appeal to you for the book in which we are all invested and we all believe, can see the day! Thank you!



Résidence au Théâtre Le Manège.





Why fund it?

Participation in the financing of the performance :



It is urgent to pay individual providers and essential equipment for performances.    - Participation to the purchase of mobile projection screens on which are projected  animation and videos in real time. (500 €)    - Work light and sound set up at the first, created for future performances (300 €)    - Buying software for video management (600 €)    - Participation in the construction of the cube "lab" in gold color.  Main structure of the performance. (1450 €)





Participation in the financing of the book: 



The book is being printed. A beautiful graphic object that implements cross thoughts on this contemporary robotics authors from different fields (artists, writers, researchers, anthropologists, etc.).    - Participation in the printing of 500 copies (1500 €)




Drawing in La Rochelle.








Emmanuelle Grangier was born in Paris, lives in Brusc and works between Marseille and Brussels. She is an artist and she has a PhD in art and science of art (The bug: an aesthetic of accident). She crosses different writings, film, video, performance, choreographic, dramatic, interactive, generative and different spaces such as installation and stage.... See more