Robot-Human Interaction: A human speaker experiment

David St-Onge, Nicolas Reeves, Nataliya Petkova

Conference: 2017 Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI2017), Vienna, Austria


La mariée remise à nu par le binaire is a hybrid performance, where a robotic structure takes over the human vocal system in order to compose coded speech. Acting solely as a complex resonant box, the performer’s body is subjugated to the machine’s will to communicate with mutated generative speech. The work spawned from a research on identity, language, translation and media transmutations, through the lens of ‘pataphysics (science of exceptions and imaginary solutions).


The machine is a metal structure holding several motors, hooks and circuits. Each motor controls a different part of the mouth, moving it in four directions. A custom-made electronic circuit is glued to the tongue, and a series of electric shocks are sent in order to make it move. Finally, an electro larynx is pressed to a specific point on the throat in order to stimulate the vocal cords. The entire structure reacts to several modes - a random speech generative mode,  and four sound analysis modes depending on the audio input in use (mics, piezos, radio waves, etc.).


The piece was presented for the first time at DA Fest (18 Sept 2015, Sofia, Bulgaria) and Device_Art Triennial(24 Sept to 4 Oct 2015, Zagreb, Croatia).


The work was made possible thanks to Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec and in collaboration with David St-Onge (robotics), LPM (code), and Steve Theroux (medical).


Device positioning demo

Device_Art festival, Zagreb, Croatia, 2015, performance excerpt

video: Toni Mijač