POL (2002) Mechatronic Performance. A mechatronic story for five robots, a panoramic screen and two performers wearing dreskeletons (exoskeletal body interfaces)
POL is a story told by means of a mechatronic performance. It is an ironic and poetic fable for all ages, a scenic mutation resulting from the meshing of machines, images, sounds and performers. Initially POL was inspired by traditional European tales. We chose this genre simply because of its narrative form, and not out of any sort of fidelity to a tradition nor from a wishful throwback to stories heard in childhood. Traditional stories tend to have an economy of structure, a narrative rhythm and a sequence of events, and these magical, unexpected and disconcerting events are ideal for the construction of a personal visual world. They also reveal unexpected responses in the reactions to this show.
POL is not based on any popular story in particular. The story recounts the erratic wanderings of a rabbit searching for love. The loss of his milk teeth, a biological childhood event and a physiological change similar to others that happen in later life, becomes one of the reasons for the journey. The search for love is the other. His adventures lead to his finding his new teeth and in the end, love. At the same time these adventures raise archetypal passions and fears: an aversion towards dirt, violent euphoria, the fear of infection and narcotic nightmares.
POL takes place in a rectangular space. At the back there is a panoramic backdrop made up of three vertical screens. Onstage five robots and two performers wander about. The interactive and interdisciplinary structure of POL is possible thanks to dedicated software, written specifically for this work. This software enables the sensors to be linked with the images, sounds and the robots. Two-dimensional and three-dimensional interactive images form the luxuriant visual backdrop projected on the screen. Just as in Aphasia, the interaction in POL highlights the storyline.