Åsa Unander-Scharin

Åsa Unander-Scharin is an internationally active choreographer, dancer and artistic researcher (PhD) in the field of art and technology. She holds a position as Professor and deputy scientific leader of Innovative Art and Technology at Luleå University of Technology. She has been member of The Committee for Artistic Research at The Swedish Research Council, and is frequently presenting her artistic work and research in art and technology journals and at conferences. In 1998, the work Lamentations of Orpheus was awarded an honorary mention from VIDA 2.0, and in 2007 Petrushka’s Cry received the special prize and was presented at ARCO Contemporary Art Fair in Madrid. She has created dance films for the Swedish Television and in 2012 Robocygne inaugurated the International Tanzmesse in Düsseldorf. Recent works have been performed at Rotterdam Opera Days, Swedish Theatre Biennale, Cape Town Opera, Vietnam National Opera Ballet, Liszt Academy, Swedish Royal Opera, the Berwald Hall and Dance Museum in Stockholm. Currently, she focuses on the creation of an experimental opera for the Croatian national opera company in Rijeka, Cultural Capital of Europe 2020.


Human Mechanics And Soulful Machines: Choreographic Perspectives On Human Qualities In Body Motion (2008)

Today we are able to capture and create movement in ways that earlier were not possible. Through the use of computers, components such as space, time, the body and movement can be treated as separate elements. Thereby these components can be deconstructed and reconstructed in new combinations. Through digital technology, the sensory and motoric abilities of the body can be prolonged, transferred and transformed, so that we can move bodies and objects remotely. Our sense of corporeality changes when we can program movement and dance through another body than our own.

In Åsa Unander-Scharin’s dissertation, the central research question revolves around how digital technology can be used in choreographic work in order to capture human qualities in bodily movement. The theoretical framework departs from Don Ihde’s experimental post-phenomenology. Unander-Scharin’s dissertation consists of seven chapters and one DVD. Chapter one introduces the research theme, whereas chapter two revolves around the choreographic work when programming a dancing industrial robot in The Lamentations of Orpheus (Orfeus Klagan). The third chapter describes the project’s theoretical framework. Thereafter follows a section that focuses on the work with the interactive exhibition Navigation. The fifth chapter concentrates on the choreographic work with human dancers in Hybrid, Creatures and Labyrinths (Hybrid, väsen och labyrinter) – a stage performance that concerns questions on being human, animal or machine. Chapter six addresses how various theories, technologies and choreographic methods can allow us to shift between different perspectives and acknowledge human bodily movement as a multistable phenomenon. Aspects that has been revealed in the research project complies in chapter seven in four ‘compressed classics’, a series of choreographic mechatronic and interactive installations, in which one has been specifically created for the DVD.