Performance Robot or Interactive Kinetic Sculpture? A Dialogue between Choreography, Product Design and Control Technology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


This essay explores notions of interdisciplinarity as these are manifested in hybrid research processes, which bring into dialogue artistic and academic research practices, and often involve a variety of specialist areas, including disciplines non-related to artistic practice. The development of an interdisciplinary exchange between a choreographer (the author of this paper), a specialist in control technology (Philip Breedon) and a product designer (Jamie Billing) is used as case study of a hybrid research process, which stimulated ideas about the creation of Snake Robot, an interactive robotic artefact, conceived, designed and produced as an art project with potential for future commercial applications.

Snake Robot is the outcome of a generative research process, during which the three academic researchers engaged in an open dialogue around their shared interests in issues of space and perception, audience engagement and interactivity. During this initial stage of the project, the main purpose was to develop a common language and examine appropriate interdisciplinary methodologies which would facilitate the undertaking of future research projects with specific outcomes. Snake Robot is the first artefact born through this dialogue and aims to engage viewers in dance duets with the support of its interactive system which detects the movement of the viewers and triggers responsive movement in the artefact. This essay discusses the fact that Snake Robot has been described by the interdisciplinary team as both a ‘performance robot’ and an ‘interactive sculpture’ which is a duality directly related to the interdisciplinary character of the research process.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCollision
Subtitle of host publicationInterarts Practice and Research
EditorsDavid Cecchetto, Nancy Cuthbert, Julie Lassonde, Dylan Robinson
Place of PublicationNewcastle Upon Tyne
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)1-4438-0031-7
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • movement, choreography, interactive technology


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