Double Agent

2018. Interactive performance installation artwork by visual artist Simon Biggs.

Choreography & performance: Sue Hawksley and Tammy Arjona.
Machine-learning: Samya Bagchi.
Scientific advisor: Mark McDonnell.

Commissioned by the Museum of Discovery, University of South Australia, Adelaide for MOD.IFY, the inaugural exhibition.

Performance at MOD., UniSA, 2016. Photo credit: Simon Biggs. Dancers: Sue Hawksley & Tammy Arjona
Double Agent is an interactive performance environment by visual artist Simon Biggs. Performers and/or viewers interact with a projected virtual 'entity' in a three-dimensional space, which is both drawn to and repelled by their presence. Dance artists Sue Hawksley and Tammy Arjona explored this tensional polarity and the sense of physical extension it allows, to create a performance score, and many hours of recorded movement data. Using a machine-learning algorithm - in collaboration with computer scientists Mark McDonnell and Samya Bagchi - this data was used to generate a virtual co-interactor and teach it to 'dance'. This digital entity developed the capacity to move in similar ways to real dancers,and to improvise in response to viewers. The installation comprises two large scale projections; the upper screen displays the interactions of the learning agent, and the lower shows the direct interactions of performers or viewers.

Performance at the Museum of Discovery, University of South Australia, for the museum opening event, Adelaide, 2018
Lecture demonstration at Panpapanpalya 2018, the 2nd Joint Congress of World Dance Alliance and Dance and the Child International (DaCI), Adelaide, 2018
Presentation of Dancer in the Machine, a joint-authored paper discussing Double Agent, by Simon Biggs, Sue Hawksley, Samya Bagchi and Mark D. McDonnell at ISCMA 2019: Art Machines: International Symposium on Computational Media Art, City University of Hong Kong, 2019.

► Museum of Discovery, Adelaide, July 2018


Biggs, S., Hawksley, S. and McDonnell, M. (2022) The Dancer in the Machine. Digital Culture & Society, Vol.8. (2), pp. 67-84.