Posted 12th Apr 11 by in

We spoke to , visual artist and performer extraordinaire, who will be heading up – our night exploring robotics and automation through music, spoken word and robotics on .

I was the standard mechanically oriented child, taking things apart, playing a lot with Lego and Meccano, customising bicycles. Interest in robotics is simply a grown-up continuation of this area of interest.

The Robotic Perception Kit in question is an approximation of a simple robot’s sensory system. I could not ask any question to the robot the kit is inspired from because it does not speak, or have any grasp of human language. But I wrote its programme, so I had precious insider knowledge.

Erm, to tell you the truth, since its conception, Mofo has mostly devolved; one could say it has aged quite badly. The wear and tear from all the disco dancing, a couple of nasty falls and the rude luggage handling of long haul flights have taken their toll: Mofo cannot dance anymore, just about wobbly walk. It mostly likes to sit and play keyboard, or sleep in its case. The name Mofo does not stand for Molti Fonction.

I think that the co-evolution of human and machine will go as far as the environment tolerates, and as individuals can spend cash. The drive is for overcoming the flesh and live forever. This is not for me, but I enjoy thinking about it and reminding people about the built-in possibilities of their body and mind, while having an interesting time getting hands-on with contemporary technological kit.

The Sail Bridge piece stemmed from a strong budget limitation: the original project was to create a set of mechatronic devices that could play the bridge as a giant percussive harp. When I had to re-think the options, I decided to work with dancers. Once fitted with appropriate extensions such as mallets and a program (choreography), they were able to bring to life the sound quality of the bridge in a very effective manner. As much as I enjoy building and programming machines, sometimes it is vital to get out and work with humans.

Paul Granjon joins , , & at Man/Machine, 19th April. .

Interview by Festival Helper .

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