*Human Study #4, La Classe*, is a performative installation that uses embodied computational agents as stylized actors. Set as a... Read More
*Human Study #4, La Classe*, is a performative installation that uses embodied computational agents as stylized actors. Set as a classroom, twenty-one robots of the RNP type act as pupils and teacher, the set also includes a large desk and a blackboard. A series of computational plotted drawings based on a math coursebook are hanging on the walls (1).*La Classe* is a play that takes its inspiration from childhood memories, Jacques Tati, Theodor W. Adorno, and Michel Foucault. The actors express themselves in distorted Morse code (2), learn to pass and record time with tally marks in order to alleviate boredom. They are trained to conform and comply. The fifteen-minute performance begins with the intense noise of the pupils chatting. They fall silent when the teacher says an unintelligible sentence. The registering process commences, he calls each pupil one by one, tracing a red line in his notebook, occasionally one needs to be recalled as if it was distracted. The lesson itself has three parts: practicing tracing vertical lines and diagonals, and the last part of the lesson is to draw tally marks. At some point, they revolt for a minute or two then get back in line by tracing tally marks. During the performance, the sounds of the motors, the friction of the pens on paper, and the robotsâ€™ voices produce a distinctive soundtrack. *La Classe* is the fourth of the six instalments of Tressetâ€™s *Human Study* series. As with the other installations, drawing is an essential component. Here mark-making is reduced to a minimal aesthetic playing with the strong symbolic and visual contrast between the tally mark and the gestural scribble. The performance is not a direct commentary on technology, but it is an observation of society, human nature, and behavioral standardization.Please note that the version to be exhibited is with 10 robots rather than 21. The smaller version was exhibited in 2019 at Ars Electronica in Linz Austria
(1) *Mathematique des petits*, H. and J. Denise and R. Polle, Pub. Delagrave, 1970 (2) Tresset was taught to sing Morse code as a child by his grandfather who was a radio operator during the Second World War.