The Canberra premiere of the Australasian Dance Collective (ADC) production ‘Lucie in the Sky’ dazzled audiences as the top-billed event in the inaugural Uncharted Territories Festival earlier this month. Lucie, a world-first artistic project in which tiny quadcopter drones and ADC artists perform together, explores emotional connection and intimacy in human-drone interactions, in stark contrast to the standard choreography or such drones in swarms for spectacle and entertainment. With Lucie, the ADC explores how we connect with advanced computing systems that permeate our presents and futures, and poses important questions about connection, community, vulnerability, power, and empathy in how we relate with AI-enabled systems.
The ANU School of Cybernetics’ ongoing research collaboration with the ADC on the production of Lucie explores how relationships between people and collaborative robots are envisioned, designed and realised. Research on Lucie is the first case study in the body of work the ‘Cybernetics of Rapport and Attentiveness’ (CORA) led by Professor Alex Zafiroglu. We are examining how the artists and drones are attuned to one another’s presence and actions in the onstage world, and how they demonstrate mutual attentiveness that animates their affect, or their outwards expressions of emotion, and their expressions of rapport, or their relationship of mutual understanding. With CORA, the School of Cybernetics addresses how we can learn to recognise the temporal rhythms, scale and logics that always and already structure our ‘here and now’ as we attend to, and are attended by, computational systems.
With sponsorship from the ANU School of Cybernetics, the Canberra premier of Lucie in the Sky was presented by the Canberra Theatre Centre on 14 July as part of the Uncharted Territory Festival, supported by the ACT Government.
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respects to the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people of the Canberra region and to
all First Nations Australians on whose traditional lands we meet and work,
and whose cultures are among the oldest continuing cultures in human