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Embodied conversations: Performance and the design of a robotic dancing partner

By Joslin McKinney, Mick Wallis, Sita Popat, John Bryden and David Hogg


<p>This paper reports insights gained from an exploration of performance-based techniques to improve the design of relationships between people and responsive machines. It draws on the Emergent Objects project and specifically addresses notions of embodiment as employed in the field of performance as a means to prototype and develop a robotic agent, SpiderCrab, designed to promote expressive interaction of device and human dancer, in order to achieve ‘performative merging’.</p> <p> The significance of the work is to bring further knowledge of embodiment to bear on the development of human-technological interaction in general. In doing so, it draws on discursive and interpretive methods of research widely used in the field of performance but not yet obviously aligned with some orthodox paradigms and practices within design research. It also posits the design outcome as an ‘objectile’ in the sense that a continuous and potentially divergent iteration of prototypes is envisaged, rather than a singular final product. The focus on performative merging draws in notions of complexity and user experience. </p> <p> <strong>Keywords:</strong> <br /> Embodiment; Performance; Tacit Knowledge; Practice-As-Research; Habitus.</p

Year: 2009
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