Simple Machines is the second project of the Forced Labor cycle by the Belgian choreographer Ugo Dehaes. This lecture-performance (50') tells the story of a choreographer who tries to be replaced by machines. Starting from the most simple machines, he builds up a universe that is populated by mechanical organisms that train and learn to become artists on their own.
Ugo always dreamt of a world where all the work would be done by robots so that we could enjoy our time. But according to www.willrobotstakemyjob.com choreographers only have 0.4% chance of being replaced by artificial intelligence and robots in the next decades.
In order to accelerate this evolution Ugo shifted his focus to become a choreographer of things, and decided to fire all his dancers and to invest in robots.
In Simple Machines Ugo explains how robots are born, from slimy cocoons to shiny machines, and how we can train them using artificial intelligence until they are capable of creating and performing their own show.
Throughout the performance the audience, 30 people who sit together with Ugo around a large table, is invited to help train the machines and thus to facilitate a future where human artists are no longer needed.
The performance ends with a glimpse of the future: a ballet for homemade robot-dancers without the intervention of a human choreographer. Each robot-dancer has its own shape, none of them humanoid, and thus its own set of possible movements. The choreography is build up around their unique physical possibilities, and the data generated throughout the performance.