I really liked Matthew’s idea of a dinner scene where a human performer is having dinner with a robot. I wanted to use this idea to explore loneliness and self-delusion, especially in relation to using technology as a substitute for human interaction. I thought of a performance where a human performer is having dinner with a robot, and deluding themselves into believing that the robot is a good substitute for a human dining partner.
I first though about how I would want the performance to look. I think having a human structure would make it clear that this robot is trying to mimic or replace a human. I was thinking of using something like a cardboard cutout of a human. The robot could interact with objects on the table, such as moving utensils up and down and lifting a cup to the cardboard cutout to “drink” in order to mimic eating and drinking. The robot could also have a speaker in order to “talk” to the performer by making noises.
One idea that I had for a performance that escalates is that the robot could start off responding well to the performer. For example it could move the cup and utensils at appropriate times, and “respond” to questions from the performer by making noises. However as the performance goes on, it could start interrupting when the performer is speaking or knock things off the table. The performer would then try to justify the robot’s actions, in order to keep the dinner going. This would reveal to the audience that the robot is not sentient or intelligent, and the performer is deluding themselves into believing that the robot is a good dining partner as a way to deal with loneliness.