Soft Materials

2004

Soft Materials was shot in the Artificial Intelligence Lab at the University of Zurich where scientists research ‘embodied artificial intelligence’. This cutting edge area of AI produces robots which, rather than being programmed from the ‘head down’ by a computer ‘brain’, instead learn to function through the experience of their physical bodies.

Soft Materials introduces to these robots two performers, one man and one woman, trained in body awareness, acutely sensitive to the nuances of movement, primed to mimic the robots in a play of reciprocity. These performers shed skins of soft fabric, bear their joints like the frank structure of a machine, and, nude, approach the robots as if they were sentient beings. Creating intimate relationships that are in turns tender, funny and eerie, they bend flexible human fantasy around tough materials.

Cast

Ben Ash
Nina Fog

Eyebot
A-mouse
ADAPT Hand
Dumbo
Stumpy
Blimp Bot

Crew

Director of Photography
Noski Deville

Editor
√úlrike Munch

First Camera Assistant
Ioanna Karavela

Gaffer
Peter Emery

Sound Recordist
Daniel Hobi

Sound Mixer
Clare Manning

Stills Photographer
Peter Fauland

Production Assistant
Pascal Merz

Thanks to

Researchers at the University of Zurich AI Lab:
Lukas Lichtensteiger
Gabriel Gomez
Fumiya Ida
Simon Bovet
Daniel Bisig
and the Director of the lab,
Dr. Rolf Pfeifer
Len Thorton at Soho Images

Commissioned by

The Showroom, London