OzAsia 2017 – Scary Beauty – The Space Theatre – 3K

By Tom Eckert

00002Skeleton - Ishiguro lab Osaka univiversity © Justine Emard (2)
Image © Justine Emard

Keeichiro Shibuya, a prominent man in the progressive electronic music scene in Japan brings his music and a sophisticated android to Adelaide.

Backed by the Australian arts orchestra, Keiichiro summons soundscapes directly out of a computer imbued with musicality.

The pieces are heavily modified with electrical effects and are written in the spirit reminiscent of  Japanese pop music, heavily utilised minor keys and lyrics concerned with the torture of estence.

The crux of these performances however is the android.  Provided with a profoundly mobile face and a plethora of sensors, the concept centers on the ability of the android to emote and gesticulate in real-time in response to the music, creating the impression that it is performing.

Whilst far from life like, the androids facial features are able to adopt expressions that are strikingly fitting to the mood of the music – setting this performance deep in the uncanny valley.

Scary Beauty raises a series of questions about the nature of performance and the characteristics necessary in the performer to deliver an evocative and emotional experience. As well as this it challenges the ides of what it really is to “perform”.

Whilst still a far-cry from a convincing facsimile of humanity, it is astounding the things that can be accomplished with robotics in this day and age and does give food for thought for the directions that we find ourselves going in.


Kryztoff rating: 3K

Leave a Reply