Ugo Dehaes / kwaad bloed


An interactive installation starring dancing robots.


Saturday 16 March 2024 - 19:30 - 23:00
Sunday 17 March 2024 - 9:30 - 18:00

➤ STUK Studio
➤ Free without reservation, first come first served.
➤ You can take part or just watch all day long
➤ No drinks are allowed in the Studio

Arena is the first project of the Forced Labor cycle by the Belgian choreographer Ugo Dehaes.

In this installation the audience is invited to interact with 8 robots and to help them become better dancers.

Ugo Dehaes has been making dance performances for the last 20 years with a wide variety of dancers. Lately he shifted his focus: following the trend in other sectors, Ugo fired all of his dancers and decided to replace them with robots. Robots are always available, they're never tired, and they don't ask for money.

In this installation he uses artificial intelligence and the help of the audience to train his robots so that one day they will be able to create a dance performance all by themselves.

The audience is invited to manipulate some of the robots by grabbing them and moving them around with their hands. The AI formulates an answer to this input, creating a new dance. The generated choreography can be voted on in a next installation, so the AI can understand what movements work best. Another robot can be frozen with a button whenever it reaches an interesting position. These snap-shots form the basis of new AI-choreography inspired by the audience. Some robots are only to be observed, like Runner, a robot that slowly learns how to run. At first he makes random movements, while recording the distance he travels. By recombining and improving these steps he slowly starts to run faster and faster.

"Forced Labor: Arena is a must-see for everyone who kicks on AI, interactive art, experimental dance and ethical questions!"

Club Cultuur

For the creation of his performances Ugo Dehaes always departs from the gaze of the spectator. Instead of wrestling with complex concepts, he asks himself what he would like to see on stage at that given moment. That way, he shares his own amazement and fascination for movement with the audience.

By focusing on the personal stories, he transforms his own initial spark into something recognisable for all. By doing so, he offers the audience a different way of looking at the world.

In the past, his sober, radical but accessible performances focused on the power of the dance and the dancers. After all, Dehaes is fascinated by the human body and the person living in said body. The last few years however, he has been going into a different direction and switched his focus to robots. He wonders how radical one can think in search of efficiency and optimisation of society.

Part of FTI and& 2024 - Take part in a future-creating festival


Installation Ugo Dehaes | Music Roeland Luyten | Columns H(art)wood (Helder Steemans & Laura Dehaes) | Production kwaad bloed | Co-production C-TAKT, Feikes Huis Amsterdam | Distribution Vincent Company | Thanks to AI Experience Center VUB, Gertjan Biasino, Klein Verzet, Marie Peeters, Rebecca Flores | kwaad bloed is structurally supported by VGC
Sun 17 Mar 2024 9:30 - 18:00


STUK Studio


free without reservation