Unconventional Self (2022)

Unconventional Self is a project developed by Werner van der Zwan and  Charl Linssen.

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a chair? Now is your chance to find out! By combining their expertise in telepresence and furniture robots, the artists tried to answer this question in this exploratory experience. By animating found objects with electronics, it is now possible to see and move through the world as a chair.

Telepresence robotics allow a person to embody a remote robotic avatar. The person observes the environment from the robot’s perspective, which can move around under remote control. The remotely operated body mediates the relationship with the world. If the experience is sufficiently compelling, a perspective shift occurs, where the person controlling the robot feels like the robot body is their body, and they are perceiving and acting in the world from the robot’s point-of-view: they feel "embodied" in the sculpture.

In our version of the telepresence robot, one embodies a folding chair. Participants develop a sense of this new body, discovering new possibilities, vulnerabilities, and desires. Like the beetle in Kafka’s Metamorphosis, the human characters slowly start to become their new bodies and will experience being part of the same private world as the inhuman characters around them. This project was co-produced by V2_ Lab for Unstable Media.

The choreographic text was written in collaboration with Marta Wörmer.

Early development + Interview during V2_’s Winter Sessions:

Presentation @ Immersive Tech Week, De Doelen

video by Hackfilm

This work was shown at: 

Wunderplatz X Skills: Unconventional Self
Rotterdam, Netherlands

Summer sessions at Ars Electronica 2023
04.09.2023 - 08.09.2023
Ars Electronica Garden
Linz, Austria 

Immersive Tech Week 2023
28.11.2023 - 01.12.2023
De Doelen
Rotterdam, Netherlands

Chaos Communication Congress 37
27.12.2023 - 30.12.2023
Hamburg, Germany