Machine to be a Dancer

The Machine To Be Another is an embodied interaction system that merges human performance with neuroscience protocols and telepresence experiments. The system offers users an immersive experience of what it feels like to be in the body of another person and aims to work as an open tool for social relations that asks the questions: By understanding the other, can we better understand ourselves? What would the world be like if we could really see through the eyes of the other, and if we really put ourselves in someone else’s shoes? The system has been used in performances/experiments investigating bias toward immigrants, mother-daughter relationships, body extension for functional diversity, pain tolerance and gender identity. It ensures the multisensory integration of aural, visual, proprioceptive and haptic stimuli that produce the psychophysical phenomenon of embodiment. Our approach stems from studies in embodied cognition; building on recent discoveries, such as mirror neurons and their relation to empathy, which reveal, among other things, that our experience of the world is deeply tied to that of others. As Giacomo Rizzolatti wrote, “How bizarre it would be to conceive of an I without an Us.” Adapting neuroscience protocols from institutions such as Group Ehrsson (Stockholm) and EventLab (Barcelona), we explore embodiment techniques and technology within a dynamic artistic framework that fosters connections between diverse fields of scientific and sociological enquiry.