Åsa and Carl Unander-Scharin

Spacing Opera Mecatronica

Opera Mecatronicaconsists of a series of interactive and mecatronical dance and
opera works that can be performed either separately or in different constellations. In
this exhibition the computer directed marionette Olimpia -a giant creation built from
rusty and patinated machine parts -dances in a curiously human like manner, while
the robot swan dancer Robocygne, performs to an electro-acoustic version of
Tchaikovsky's majestic music from Swan Lake. In this exhibition there are also other curious items such as an interactive copper tree singing Handel's Ombra mai fù, accompanied by vibrating brass loudspeaker leaves, a tub with dark water where a dancer interactively dances to the Pearl Fisher duet, and an electro mechanical 
puppet version of the ballet Petrushka. Choreography and opera are fields where corporealities are at play. Corporeality does not simply depend on the materiality of the body and the voice, but rather on the imagination and creative forces that stimulate sensations. Choreography, opera and digital technology create a space for experimentation where new corporealities can be produced and explored in multiple ways. The use of digital technology in this project goes beyond the common notion of technology as a tool for command and control; here it is used as a way of acquiring new rhythms and expressions, as well as discovering new kinetic and vocal potentials in the encounter of contemporary ballet, opera and technology. The major 
purpose of this transdisciplinary artistic research projectis to explore how new forms of bodies and voices can be produced in the connection of choreography, opera, robotics, videoand interactive technologies -how digital technologies allow for novel ballet bodies and opera voices to come into being. The technological development challenges continuously our self-image, changing and expanding our understanding of ourselves and bringing to the fore new ethical issues. In the proposed project, such issues take the form of art. Suddenly the body-technology-voice creatures start to "live" on their own, producing singular personages. Rather than emphasizing the digital outcome of interactive technologies, this project aims to highlight how the body-technology-voice connection unfolds new rhythms and expressions of nonhuman performers. The project involves a series of investigations and reflections about technologically re-configured ballet bodies and opera voices. An overall purpose of this presentation concernsthe re-spacing and re-framing of theseries of 
installationsin different locations: the abandoned reactor hall 40 meters underneath the Royal Institute of Technologyin Stockholm, the Golden foyer atthe Royal Opera House in Stockholm, Luxor Theatre foyer and the Fenix warehouse in Rotterdam. An additional aim of this transdisciplinary research is to raise existential questions that challenge contemporary idealizations of "natural" bodies, voices and movement. 
Video excerpts from some of the installations can be found at
Åsa Unander-Scharin, choreographer, PhD,Artistic researcher at Luleå University of technology/ Dep. Music, Danceand Theatre
Carl Unander-Scharin, composer and singer, Visiting Professor at the University College of Opera in Stockholm, PhD student at Royal Institute of Technology

Publisert: 21.06.2013 av Johan Sandborg Oppdatert: 19.03.2015 av admin