The Tiller Girls
Louis-Philippe Demers
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Time: 7 p.m.
AI robots performance, 2010
Music: Phillip Schulze
Lighting: Armin Purkrabek
Louis-Philippe Demers (SG). The Tiller Girls, 2010. An autonomous AI robots installation, image courtesy the artist. Copyright 2010 Photo by Jan Sprij
Louis-Philippe Demers (SG). The Tiller Girls, 2010. An autonomous AI robots installation, image courtesy the artist. Copyright 2010 Photo by Jan Sprij

Louis-Philip Demers’s project explores the phenomenon of unconscious bodily matter. Whether it makes up complex figures at stadiums and during military parades, or demonstrates cohesion in corporate labor – its programs are executed with the same mechanical precision. The precursor was the famous early 20th century dance troupe “Tiller Girls”, in which human performers are ‘called upon to exercise their technical skills but not their interpretive skills’.

Demers’s performance is a group of 12 small autonomous robots. These robots were developed in Artificial Intelligence for the study of gaits given minimal freedom of movements. The rationale behind the Tiller Girls is to explore the dichotomy of the man-machine. The robots can only balance their torsos and shoulders but they can yet achieve a large variety of expressions and behaviours.


Louis-Philippe Demers (b. 1959, Montreal, Canada) makes large-scale interactive installations, so far realizing more than 300 machines and participating in more than 70 stage productions. His works have been featured at major venues such as Lille 2004, Expo 1992 and 2000, Sonambiente, ISEA, SIGGRAPH and Sonar. He received four mentions at Ars Electronica, the Distinction of Prix Ars 96, the first prize of Vida 2.0, a mention at Vida 12.0, the prize for Lightforms 98 and six prizes for Devolution in 2006. He was Professor at the scenography department of the HfG/ZKM then he joined the Nanyang Technological University as PI at the Interaction and Entertainment Research Centre and Associate Professor at the School of Art, Design and Media.

Phillip Schulze (b. 1979, Herdecke-Ruhr, Germany) is a media artist, composer and improviser. Having developed much of his work in a visual art context, Schulze creates sound environments, installations, and extended concert situations with an aim at finding intersection points between visual and auditory experience as well as relations among participants, objects and site. Schulze's work has been performed or installed in Germany, Austria, France, China, Japan, Singapore and the USA.

Armin Purkrabek (b. 1978, Schwarzach/PG, Austria) is a stage designer, researcher and digital media artist. Various exhibitions and performances in Europe, USA and Asia e.g. solo exhibition „iShow“, Gallery The Space, Seoul, South Korea (2006). Senior researcher at Korean German Institute of Technology (KGIT), Seoul, South Korea (2006–2007). Research associate at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Interaction and Entertainment Research Centre (IERC), Singapore (2008–2009).