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Blickfelder Festival

Simple Machines

Robot Ballet

Ugo Dehaes (BE)

Ugo Dehaes breeds organically shaped machines in his basement that resemble insects. After they hatch from their slimy cocoons, he nurtures and molds them into dancing machines using artificial intelligence. These machines are capable of creating their own "robot ballet."

The audience sits around a table with Ugo, getting up close and personal with the small robotic creatures. They crawl like caterpillars across the table. Some grow "hair," while others stumble around like little dogs. In his lecture performance, Ugo Dehaes explains how he trains "simple machines" with artificial intelligence until they are capable of creating and performing their own show. He explores how radically one can think in the pursuit of efficiency and societal optimization. His "robot ballet" is a humorous, playful choreography that allows the audience to engage with digitization and artificial intelligence. It's a critical attempt to render humans entirely unnecessary.

After the performance, the audience is invited to teach the robots new movements themselves.

Theater Stadelhofen
50 minutes
English with live German translation
International Theatre/Dance Programme
Wheelchair accessible
Simple Machines (Photo: Ugo Dehaes)
Simple Machines (Photo: Arne Lievens)
Simple Machines (Photo: Arne Lievens)
Simple Machines (Photo: Arne Lievens)
Simple Machines (Photo: Arne Lievens)
Simple Machines (Photo: Ugo Dehaes)
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Ugo Dehaes

Scenography, composition:

Wannes Deneer


Marie Peeters

Silicone in collaboration with:

Rebecca Flores

Construktion table:

Kristof Morel


kwaad bloed & Tuning People



In collaboration with:


With the support of:

De Vlaamse Gemeenschap


Vincent Company

Thanks to:

AI Experience Center VUB, Caroline Pauwels, De Factorij, Gertjan Biasino, Hans De Cank, Pol Eggermont & Roeland Luyten