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Copacabana Machine Sex, 2018

6th International Digital Art Biennial 

Arsenal Contemporary Art Montreal 

12.01.2022 - 02.05.2023


Based in Montreal, Bill Vorn is working in the field of Robotic Art since almost 30 years. His installation and performance projects involve robotics and motion control, sound, lighting, video and cybernetic processes. Influenced by advances in Human-Robot Interaction, he pursues artistic work based on "Relational Robotics". He holds a Ph.D. degree in Communication Studies from UQAM (Montreal) for his thesis on "Artificial Life as Media". He teaches Electronic Arts in the Department of Studio Arts at Concordia University (Intermedia program) where he is Full Professor. His work has been presented in many international events, including Ars Electronica, ISEA, DEAF, Sonar, Art Futura, EMAF and Artec. He has been awarded the Vida 2.0 award (1999, Madrid) and the Prix Ars Electronica Distinction award (1996, Linz), among others. He was cofounder of the electronic pop music band Rational Youth with Tracy Howe in 1981.


Copacabana Machine Sex, 2018 - Robotic performance


Copacabana Machine Sex is a 30-minute burlesque musical robotic performance involving solely biomorphic machines as actors. The artist’s goal is not to replicate a real cabaret, but to conceive a metaphorical extravaganza in response to the question: “what would happen if machines would be on the stage of a cabaret?” The Copacabana performance can be described as a mini Music Hall show, hence its title, as so many nightclubs around the world are called this way. It involves a succession of various musical numbers where machines perform on stage as actors, musicians and dancers. Aesthetically speaking, the set is a strange hybrid mix between the classic Broadway kitsch and the dark industrial ambience of Vorn’s previous works. Like most of his work, it is an exploration of robotic forms and movements through music, sound and light. With this piece, the artist’s aim is not to create a deviant or satirical sex show, but to evoke human behaviors in an unusual manner through simplistic machine actions presented in a familiar Music Hall / cabaret context.

Produced with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec

15-minute robotic performances


Daily schedule of performances:
between 12pm and 1pm
between 3pm and 4pm
between 6pm and 7pm 

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