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Sapient 2.021 is an experimental short film combining dance, robotics, and visual art to explore what it means to be human in a tech-saturated world. This work is part collaborative art documentary and part screen dance. It draws inspiration from science fiction combining Tate’s motion-controlled painting robot (Manibus) with dance and visual art to examine ideas surrounding labor, control, empathy, and human rights in the wake of the year 2020.


The film commemorates the 100th anniversary of the word “robot” (Slavic root "robota" which translates to "forced labor") introduced to the English language through the play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) by Czech playwright, Karel Capek.


How have our views regarding robotics changed over the past century as our relationship to and dependence upon machines evolved? How have our views on humanity and objectification changed? How do we define humanity, and how does labor fit into the equation?


This project is supported by the Iowa Arts Council a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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