Lilla LoCurto & Bill Outcault

The willful marionette
the willful marionette (2014) was created by artists Lilla LoCurto and Bill Outcault during a residency with the University of North Carolina Charlotte, working with the College of Computing and Informatics as well as the College of Art and Architecture. The marionette is 3d printed from the scanned image of a human figure and responds engagingly in real time to spontaneous human gestures by reading a viewer’s movements and expressions. Its strings are manipulated by motors and software and there are two depth sensors that read and analyze the behaviors and gestures of participants. The puppet’s subsequent actions are designed to elicit further responses, creating an exchange focusing on the frailty and insecurities of the human participant and raising issues of contemporary relevance. The intention of the project was not to create so much a perfectly functioning robot but rather to imbue an obviously mechanically actuated marionette with the ability to solicit a physical and emotional dialog with a viewer.

KRIS VERDONCK

I / II / III / IIII

In I/II/III/IIII, choreographer and visual artist Kris Verdonck transforms the stage into a life-size dollhouse. Four female ICK-dancers – not unlike marionettes – are floating in mid-air, suspended from a huge machine. A solo, a duet, a trio and a quartet follow one another in this choreography of identical movements. A game of surrendering to the machine and at the same time, searching for control. The images evoked by I/II/III/IIII are confusing and ambiguous: the dancers almost look like graceful, fragile swans … but they also remind us of animal carcasses being dragged along, floating angels, falling human bodies and everything in between.

TAMAS WALICZKY

Marionettes
FILE FESTIVAL 

“Marionettes” is a seven-minute computer animation about collapse. Marionettes are controlled by strings: if there is no string, they collapse. Nobody animates the body. If nobody animates the body, it will be animated by natural forces. Mass. Gravity. Collision. Randomization. In this animation, the animator does not animate in traditional terms. Thus, we might say it is an anti-animation.
The forces that control the movements of the marionettes are calculated by physical simulation algorithms. Therefore, these movements are strictly mathematical ones. They are dramatic, too. They visualize collapse in its physical and – amazingly enough from puppets animated by machines – psychological sense.

LA MACHINE (FRENCH GROUP OF ARTISTS)

The Sultan’s Elephant was a show created by the Royal de Luxe theatre company, involving a huge moving mechanical elephant, a giant marionette of a girl and other associated public art installations. In French it was called La visite du sultan des Indes sur son éléphant à voyager dans le temps (literally, “Visit from the Sultan of the Indies on His Time-Travelling Elephant”). The show was commissioned to commemorate the centenary of Jules Verne’s death, by the two French cities of Nantes and Amiens, funded by a special grant from the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.The show was performed at various locations around the world between 2005 and 2006.