Interactive Art

Android Theater

Price: Anerkennung - Honorary Mentions

At the request of the artist no material is displayed.

Oriza Hirata (JP), Hiroshi Ishiguro (JP)


Cyberarts 2011 - International Compendium Prix Ars Electronica 2011

Where does the feeling of one’s presence, such as the atmosphere or the authority of a person come from? How can it be captured, revived and transmitted? To tackle this mystery, we have developed a real-person-based android, “geminoid”. A geminoid appears and behaves just like its source person. Since artificial intelligence technology has still not reached the level of human behavior, robots can only respond in quite a simple manner. This was a major obstacle in conducting research on human-robot interaction. With the geminoid’s remote-control facility, it is possible to avoid this problem and conduct various research into the implementation of high-level human interaction, including the study of human presence.

Research using geminoids takes two approaches: one is the engineering approach, such as the development of effective tele-operation interfaces or the generation of natural, humanoid motion. Another is on cognitive aspects, for the investigation on human presence. Through these two approaches, our goal is to realize an advanced robot that is close to human and, at the same time, the quest for the basis of human nature.

Hiroshi Ishiguro and Oriza Hirata have been co-developing a robot-human theater project, which combines theatre with Ishiguro’s research development in the cohabitation of humans and robots. The creation process and presentation becomes part of the research data, making the performance a groundbreaking collaboration of science and theatre. 

Ishiguro and Hirata’s Android-human theater Sayonara is an innovative short play, played by Geminoid F, a humanoid robot developed by the Ishiguro Laboratory in 2010 that looks exactly like the woman it was modeled on, and a human actress. Examining the question: “What do life and death mean to humans and robots?” this piece will alter the audience’s images of robots and humans and present a compelling fusion of theater arts and science.