Inspirit! is composed of three small robotic creatures placed on a pedestal. One of them is visibly connected to an interaction device, inviting visitors to provide biofeedback input so as to take influence on the lifelike situation.

The creatures seem to be caught in an easily recognisable social situation: While two of them look happy and synchronously swing, one seems to be depressed or physically ill, only making small uncoordinated movements. The scene invites the visitor to intervene and to help the poor creature to become as fit as its buddies. By means of biofeedback the visitor provides life energy and rhythmically revives the creature. After a while the poor creature gets in tune with the others and the group gives the impression of being thankful and happy. They now form an entity without a weak link and start to perform even more expressively. After a while the choreography of the scene no longer changes and monotonously swings in a loop. Finally, the interacting person will abandon the scene she/he has unconsciously become a vital part of. As soon as she/he does so, all creatures abruptly stop moving and reproachfully address the visitor. If she/he joins in again, the system recovers. If not, it completely collapses in such an intense manner that it looks as though the visitor had broken the installation. After a while, the scene freezes and the system no longer responds.

The objective is to engage the visitor emotionally and to make him/her reflect on the individual experience in retrospect: inquisitiveness, the giving of well-intended and spontaneous help, increasing involvement, assumption of responsibility, excessive demand, and the irreversible consequences of one’s own actions.

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Jan Torpus: script, art direction, production and biofeedback interface

José Navarro: robot and sound design/programming

Renato Grob: installation implementation