Thoughtworks Arts


Smithsonian Presents World Premiere of Catie Cuan’s ‘In Her Prime’

Posted by the Thoughtworks Arts Team
Wednesday, 25 January 2023

The first human-robot performance in the history of the Smithsonian was created as part of Catie Cuan’s Futurist-in-Residence at the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building.

Full-length, world premiere performance of ‘In Her Prime’

‘In Her Prime’ had it’s world premiere inside the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building on July 6th, 2022. The full-length video of the work recently became available.

The presentation features three human dancers and two Boston Dynamics “Spot” robots as well as original music, choreography, and video.

I was inspired by the vast history of humans and our tools and how the objects and environments we create demand our submission. This choreorobotics dance is part atavistic ceremony, part celestial conjuring, and part ecstatic romping.
— Catie Cuan

During Cuan’s residency at Thoughtworks Arts she explored the importance of movement in robots, especially as they become more ubiquitous and incorporated into our everyday existence. The work developed out of her ‘liminal’ project that captured the power of nuanced and transitional movements between a human and a 16-foot industrial robot.

A close-up of a woman dabcing on a stage reaches for the sky with silhouettes of two four-legged animal-like robots behind her
Catie Cuan and two Boston Dynamics spot robots - Photo by Farrah Skeiky
Three dancers moving on a stage in front of a large crowd in an auditorium, with silhouettes of two four-legged animal-like robots behind them
‘In Her Prime’ performance at the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building

‘In Her Prime’ highlights Cuan’s dedication to merging industrial robotics with forms of movement that humans can easily recognize and comfortably relate to. The work will become a physical installation where audiences can experience what it is like moving in tandem with a robot.

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