The Cat Gets Quantum Entangled (2019) is a participatory performance. It is guided by thoughtful, cultural explorations of electronic music, curated by Leonie Rhodes in their feline alter-ego DJ Boom Bean Selecta (BBBS). The Cat Gets Quantum Entangled was performed in Burnett Lane, Brisbane CBD, on invitation from the Temple of ODD’s Members of Monster Zoku Onsomb. The performance was documented as a short video, filmed by Joseph Burgess and edited by me (see above). For this work, I developed an interactive, dancing cyborg, the Partybot. Originally designed for warfare, the Partybot has since retired. Now it fights a fruitless battle in pursuit of dancing. A good dance arguably does more for alleviating suffering than a thousand sad memoirs ever could.
The Partybot is also an alien-spider hybrid of BBBS and Supergalatica, a character performed by Saara Roppola. Modelled loosely on the common cat spider, the Partybot supports a solid head painted with intimidating teeth and yellow glowing eyes. It has four thin legs tipped with blades and attached to a spinning hinge. Paralleling the meridian lines of Supergalatica’s costume design (thought to chart the energetic pathways of the body and planets), Roppola wove a network between the environment and consenting observers with coloured ribbon. Meanwhile, using a knockoff SNES controller, users could input button commands in the style of a fighting game to make a projection of Partybot behind Boom Boom Bean Selecta dance.
I learned about 3D rigging through this project, and was assisted by Simon Tiemroth. I applied the same principles I had been developing with TAA to Fast approximate anti-aliasing in this artwork which created the hypnotic effect behind Partybot. In this instance I utilized both direct and indirect interaction (audio spectrum data modulated the effect). The artwork would have benefited from an AI system to get Partybot dancing when no interaction was detected. The artwork was successful in ‘breaking the ice’ and got people closer to the DJ and in combo with Saara and Leon, dancing. Below are some progress shots from my development.
In contrast with the pessimism of previous artworks such as Brood and In Heat, The Cat Gets Quantum Entangled celebrates the body by promoting collective joy. This is a philosophy for artistic production that I was taught by Leonie Rhodes. During and after the heavy conservatism and economic failures of Thatcher’s New Right government, condemned industrial warehouses were illegally occupied to host underground rave parties. Rave culture threatens to radicalise people through collective joy on the grounds that a good time is infectious and far preferable to its opposite, suffering. Music enables people to unite around a shared heritage without the need for a formal syntax, like the written word. The political message shared across this artwork and this history is to have fun.
Below is a machinima I filmed demonstrating how the Party-bot dances (to Pixel Galaxy by Snail’s House).