‘QUAD’ is Samuel Beckett’s wordless short play, written for television in 1981. Instead of spoken text for the actors to learn, Beckett provides stage directions and movement diagrams that he insists the performers follow exactly. This inevitably results in the ‘mechanization’ of the performers. In this production of Beckett’s play directed by STUDIO fellow Matt Gray, we circumvented the process of mechanizing humans by starting with machines ab initio. With the help of an OpenFrameworks-based computer vision system, Xbee RF communications and Arduino microcontrollers, four iCreate (Roomba) robots became the performers of Beckett’s enigmatic play. In the course of so doing, their subtle quirks and characters as individuals are revealed.


Quad (Raw footage fragment, 2011) from STUDIO for Creative Inquiry on Vimeo.


Playwright: Samuel Beckett
Director: Matthew Gray (Northeastern U.)
Producer: Golan Levin (STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, CMU)
Developer: David Sanz Kirbis (The Random Lab, Valencia, Spain)
Sound: Rare Hymn
Lighting Assistant: Michael Epstein
Documentation: Jonathan Minard (DeepSpeed)
Additional Documentation: Benjamin Welmond

iRobot Creates kindly provided by Professor Manuela Veloso, CMU School of Computer Science.

Sincere thanks to: Marge Myers, Linda Hager, Joe Pino, David Boevers, Todd Brown, David Randolph, Somchaya Liemhetcharat.




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