Do Not Feed The Automatons

14/08/2009 at 12:37 pm 2 comments

The five robots on display at the Carriageworks exhibit The Hosts will interact, speak and ‘improvise’ with their audience.  Each has their own personality – complete with immaculate costume and distinctive voice – creating a sense of the alien living amongst us.
Art, cinema & literature have always held a fascination with the robot; from Asimov to Arnold Schwarzenegger – in our fiction we build non-human androids in our own image – as if by making a stronger, faster, more intelligent model we can overcome our own failings as a race.  It’s an ironic and poignant hubris that artificial life must take humanoid form for us to relate.
The Hosts by contrast bear no similarity to human anatomy whatsoever – the similarities occur within their behaviour, as they explore the room, talk, or dance together – the effect is unsettling, curious yet eerie as we are confronted with our own humanity in an utterly alien form.  This is complemented beautifully by the costume designs, in carefully tailored linens and silks to enhance the various personalities of the robotic creations.  So you recognise corsets, clown stripes and cowgirl hats – further signifiers of humanity, like a costume party from the Oort Nebula – and you’re invited.
Which, of course, would make us the aliens in the room.  And truly there is a stark reminder of the strangeness of humanity when confronted with such creatures as these – it’s just as amazing to witness how diferent people interact with the robots as they do with us.  Some will dance with them, whistle, laugh or flinch as the domesticated metal beasts go about their curious business.  Artist Wade Marynovsky and his team have managed a balance of docililty and intimidation, humanity and ‘the other’, randomness and syncopation, mimicry and a unique expressive power that stir a childlike sense of wonder and fear of the unknown in this place.  Part theatre, part sculpture, part technology, part human – audience and exhibit alike share the space of surreal fun and suspension of disbelief; it’s like stepping into an otherworldly zoo.
Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?

The five robots on display at the Performance Space exhibit The Hosts will interact, speak and ‘improvise’ with their audience.  Each has their own personality – complete with immaculate costume and distinctive voice – creating a sense of the alien living amongst us.

Art, cinema & literature have always held a fascination with the robot; from Asimov to Arnold Schwarzenegger – in our fiction we build non-human androids in our own image – as if by making a stronger, faster, more intelligent model we can overcome our own failings as a race.  It’s an ironic and poignant hubris that artificial life must take humanoid form for us to relate.

The Hosts by contrast bear no similarity to human anatomy whatsoever – the similarities occur within their behaviour, as they explore the room, talk, or dance together – the effect is unsettling, curious yet eerie as we are confronted with our own humanity in an utterly alien form.  This is complemented beautifully by the costume designs, in carefully tailored linens and silks to enhance the various personalities of the robotic creations.  So you recognise corsets, clown stripes and cowgirl hats – further signifiers of humanity, like a costume party from the Oort Nebula – and you’re invited.

Which, of course, would make us the aliens in the room.  And truly there is a stark reminder of the strangeness of humanity when confronted with such creatures as these – it’s just as amazing to witness how different people interact with the robots as they do with us.  Some will dance with them, whistle, laugh or flinch as the domesticated metal beasts go about their curious business.  Artist Wade Marynowsky and his team have managed a balance of docililty and intimidation, humanity and ‘the other’, randomness and syncopation, mimicry and a unique expressive power that stir a childlike sense of wonder and fear of the unknown in this place.

Part theatre, part sculpture, part technology, part human – audience and exhibit alike share the space of surreal fun and suspension of disbelief; it’s like stepping into an otherworldly zoo.   See to be believed…

The Hosts exhibits at Bay 19, Carriageworks until September 12th.

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Entry filed under: Inside Theatre REVIEWS. Tags: , , , , , , .

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VICTOR SANCZ vassanc [AT] gmail.com

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