Bob Moyler image by bernhard winkler

The performance adventures and novelty acts of Bob Moyler and friends

Luddite (2015)

Location: James Arnott Theatre, University of Glasgow, Scotland
Performance: Bob Moyler, the iRobot Roomba 533
Technician: Tony Sweeton
Music: Ben Frost, The Knife, Aphex Twin
Image: Bob Moyler
Created as part of MLitt Theatre Practices, University of Glasgow

For Luddite, the robot vacuum cleaner and Bob performed side by side on stage for the very first time. To prepare for the performance The Robot & Bob revisited the collaborative processes that brought them together and delved deep in to the net of actors that forged its unique union. The journey back through this web of instances and interactions alluded to the symbiotic relationship that formed the three act structure of the piece.

The prologue is a re-working of Jorge Lois Borges’ poem El Golem.

In Act One, The Robot & Bob as simulacra first explore the hybridity of the cyborg symbiotic situation. This cyborg symbiosis can be seen through Bob’s reliance on his semi-autonomous prosthetic partner to execute a viable performance and vice versa. Each relies on the other in order to perform.

Act Two brings conflict. Through utilitarian action The Robot & Bob travel through a process of transformation, violence, liberation, and control. Loss plays a central role in this dark second act.

Finally, Act Three suggests assimilation, reconciliation and new beginnings.

Throughout this piece The Robot & Bob struggle with imposed hierarchies and the need for control. In the end it is unclear just who/what is the master and what/who is the slave. Luddite takes its name from the 19th-century English textile workers who protested against newly developed labour-economizing technologies.

The music throughout the piece by artists Aphex Twin, Ben Frost, and The Knife, was chosen from actual tracks that were randomly playing during the devising and rehearsal process.

To watch the full performance click here