“Godspeed: A Speculative and Participative Robotic Performance” presented by Vorn and Demers


Session Title:

  • Speculative Environments

Presentation Title:

  • Godspeed: A Speculative and Participative Robotic Performance




  • Encouraged by the success of Inferno (2015), “Godspeed” will pursue the similar transformative experiential journey of becoming an augmented human. In Inferno, up to 25 spectators wore custom-made exoskeletons that controlled, submitted and coerced them into a dance performance driven by a rhythmic soundtrack. With Godspeed, we aim to go beyond Inferno’s far-reaching achievements by further catalysing the audience’s participation into a joint human-machine endeavour: co-creating and co-performing a series of speculative rituals inspired by the upcoming Singularity.

    Godspeed is frequently conjured in the rocket launchings of American spatial missions, a predominant sign of vastly mediatised events cum rituals of modern science and technology.

    In Godspeed, the ‘ritual’ takes on a broader more speculative connotation rather than a strict traditional denotation of the term, while still referring to implicit or explicit rules governing social constructs and individual behaviours. As symbolic gestures, each ritual will stage specific machines (robotic extensions, instruments to manipulate, exoskeletons, portable devices and so forth) enabling actions that lead to co-embodied communal procedures. These actions will either be absurd, repetitive, ceremonial, hypnotic, senseless, solemn or contemplative — immersing the participants in a kinesthetic delirium, transcending and fusing his/her body with the machinic counterpart.
    Furthering and expanding Inferno’s performative experience, Godspeed aims to involve a larger number of participants while developing more alternate and diversified human augmentations. We will derive and explore a variety of extensions, prosthetics, outgrowths, supernumerary limbs, instruments and devices adapted to the performers, enhancing or forcing their bodies into involuntary and unpredictable movements or tasks, in a state of “augmented servitude”.

    Godspeed aims to enable the amateur spectator to become a skilled performer by augmenting his/her untrained state and simultaneously, through an intuitively and easily mastered mechanical interface, to fuse into a larger performative body.