• drpjfinn

Acting for Cyborgs

Updated: Jul 21, 2019

Techniques for Improving Technology-Enhanced Performance

Cyborg Gestures: Actors Bernardo Pacheco & Riah Fielding-Walters Demonstrate


Research Team

Patrick Finn, University of Calgary

Ehud Sharlin, University of Calgary

James E. Young, University of Manitoba

Sowmya Somanath, OCAD University

Owen Brierley, University of Calgary

Noor Hammad, University of Calgary

Ellie Sanoubari, University of Manitoba

Riah Fielding-Walters, London, UK

Bernardo Pacheco, Los Angeles, USA


Acting for Cyborgs provides the large-scale frame for my current work. I began this work with my colleague Ehud Sharlin, and it now extends to several areas. At its heart, Acting for Cyborgs is a simple concept with profound implications. The idea is to bring performance techniques to those who experience transitions when engaging technology. Gamers who spend time in built worlds, VR and AR explorers, people who work with robots, and those who augment with technology regularly transition between states. For thousands of years, actors have deployed techniques to help transition in and out of different states. There are two broad goals in the Acting for Cyborgs project: to improve performance and promote healthy transitions over time. Actors around the world share a set of common practices when “warming up” and “cooling down” before and after state change. This project is designed to offer a simple set of practices to assist those who undergo state changes, so they can be more productive, and healthier and happier over the long term. Early research results have been positive, and we are now expanding our work with colleagues from different disciplines, and implementing the approach across sectors.


For an explanation and demonstration of our research see the video created with Bernardo Pacheco here, and with Riah Fielding-Walters here.


Recent publications arising from the project:

"Developing Novel Cyborg Interactions from Atomic Tasks."ACM CHI 2019, Workshop: Body as a Starting Point. May 2019.


"Mutation: Leveraging Performing Arts Practices for Cyborgs." ACM Creativity and Cognition. June 2019. (Honorable Mention: Best Paper). https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3325508

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