CNR 2013: Lectures: Zaven Pare (FRA)
After a demonstration of my electronic puppet in Oxford in May 2007, realizing that a proper understanding of representation devices could not be grasped only via tests runs in laboratories, roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro decided to develop a specific research platform merging technology and art: "I have worked on developing robots that have relationships with human beings for nearly 10 years" said Professor Ishiguro; "during these years, we have focused on demonstration experiments to use robots in a real society, developing them in our laboratory. However, even if we let robots out into the world, people face the problem of how to effectively use them."
From this observation, Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro created the Robot Actors Project at Osaka University to experiment with robot presence and robot control in theatre situations. Instead of focusing attention on imitation, Professor Ishiguro developed his interest in theatre representation. Since then, the challenge of being in direct contact with live audiences has enriched his understanding of communication between humans and robots and between humans via robots. Theatre has become a genuine research platform not only to explore possibilities for the entertainment industry but also to show people how to forge a relationship with robots through drama.
The idea is to build a natural relationship between human beings and robots that can be achieved without teaching, to help the acceptance of robots by their human interaction partners and their integration into everyday life of human society. The image of robots in movies with which people have become familiar is far from the robots that are presently being developed in robotics laboratories. Today, the Robot Actors Project seeks to demystify the idea of fictional robots by familiarizing the public with the current state of robotics and experiments.
The public has the last word in a play: the public sees what it wants to see, regardless of the talents of the actors, even if they are dummies or just simulacra. A stage play with robots is not just a matter of how to construct realistic androids like animatronics for movies; it is about creating dramatic situations. In a laboratory, a robot is always a robot, but on stage a robot becomes an actor: A robot can play a robot character, just as a human actor can act as a puppet.
[image source: Zaven Paré]
[source: Vive Les Robots!]
Zaven Paré is doing Machine Art and he is Robot Drama Researcher, specialist of Hiroshi Ishiguro and Oriza Hirata theatre's repertory for humanoids and androids.