Do Robots Have Emotions?

By Manolis Saridakis | the first dance piece ever to be created in Greece by a learning disabled choreographer.

QUICK HISTORY OF THE PERFORMANCE

  • The work was created at Onassis Stegi in Athens in the context of the Europe Beyond Access program which aims to support disabled artists to break the glass ceilings of contemporary dance & theatre.
  • The performance was first presented in December 2021 as a work in progress along with works by Stavros Zafiris and Sofia Ziaka, artists supported by the EBA New Commissions Program.
  • In March 2022 it featured in the ONC9 , Onassis New Choreographers Festival 9.
  • In September it was hosted by ΟUR.FESTIVAL at Rematia Theater, Chalandri.
  • Now it is on tour with upcoming dates at:
    • Per.ART festival | more information soon and
    • Nikosia festival | more information soon

MORE ON THE PERFORMANCE

Note by Medie Megas | dramaturgy:

“Within the framework of Europe Beyond Access, an artistic mentoring program of a practical and theoretical nature was launched, running ahead of and in parallel with rehearsals for the production of three works. The talks, discussions, and practical exercises that took place followed four key lines of inquiry. The first concerned contemporary dance today: artistic practices, methodological tools, the generation of meaning, and the relationship between artist and audience. The second focused on the field of dramaturgy and contemporary collective practices, a topic further elaborated by means of a two-day seminar led by the dramaturg Rodia Vomvolou. The third introduced disability and accessibility perspectives in order to bring issues of identity to the fore, and to examine new and more specialized concepts such as the aesthetics of accessibility. Lastly, and in parallel with all the other lines of inquiry, particular importance was placed on developing the ideas of each choreographer, and on the ways in which these ideas could be translated into instructions for improvisation, exploratory games, and creative tasks for the dancers”.

Note by Manolis Saridakis | concept – choreography:

“The performance you’re going to watch has to do with robots. I chose this topic because I feel like a robot sometimes too. I conducted an interview and did research to learn about robots: about how they move and how they help people. I had a few questions: Do robots have a mechanical heart? Is a robot brain the same as a human brain? Are robots ever bored when they do chores? Do robots do whatever they want or whatever humans want? I hope watching my performance makes you happy”.

Program note:

The dance piece “Do Robots have emotions?” by Manolis Saridakis was created as part of the Europe Beyond Access program, and within the framework of Onassis Stegi’s ongoing commitment to issues of accessibility when it comes to the arts in general, and dance in particular. The fact that persons with disabilities still do not have access to professional dance training in Greece renders the support this program provides artists particularly important.

As part of this season’s program, Onassis Stegi commissioned three emerging disabled choreographers to create three short-form works. The results were presented as works-in-progress in December 2021, and support will be provided for the further development of all three. The piece by Manolis Saridakis was selected for this year’s Onassis New Choreographers Festival – ONC9. The professional development of artists with learning disabilities has been supported in various ways by Europe Beyond Access to date in other European countries, but this is the first time such a commission and presentation are being undertaken in Greece.

By means of his disarmingly incisive concept, Manolis Saridakis touches upon the exceptionally timely topic of robots, weaving critical issues concerning control, as well as both artificial and emotional intelligence, into his own endeavors with regard to autonomy and freedom of expression. The choreographer himself appears on stage, programing each “robot” to perform – both individually and all together – a dance of their own. He then transports them into a virtual bar/club setting where he gives a new command: “feelings on demand”! On the dance floor, Screwdriver cocktails in hand, each robot will tackle the emotion it has been assigned, upending their interrelationships in the process, and leading us into the climactic scene of this sci-fi adventure by the programmer and choreographer Manolis Saridakis.