Israel Galvan is a legendary Spanish dancer/choreographer, who revolutionized the art of flamenco by introducing various modern themes and ideas into the tradition.
Galvan premiered his latest experimental dance performance, “Israel & イスラエル”, a result of a two-year-long collaboration with YCAM (Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media, Japan). Qosmo was in charge of machine learning and artificial intelligence system development.
イスラエル—Israel in Japanese—suggests that the Japanese-made AI exists as an alter ego of Israel.
Is AI a threat for artists? Or is it just another performer? How can we use AI to extend Galvan’s virtuosity? How do we train the model? These were the challenges we faced when we joined the project, leading the machine learning and artificial intelligence system development.
In order to expand Galvan’s creativity, we focused on his characteristic precise and fast step patterns called “sapateado” and developed AI models that could learn to imitate them.
The AI-generated rhythms were translated into actual sound by custom made robots YCAM developed for this project. The physical vibration signified the presence of the invisible AI performer.
In the performance, these AI models performed together with Galvan himself.
Galvan is known for not dancing with other flamenco dancers, contrary to the typical style of flamenco.
“I don’t want to get stuck in the tradition.”
On several occasions when we played him the rhythm patterns our AI models had generated, he told us that “they were still too flamenco.” Consequently, we tried to train AI models in many different architectures and settings again and again.
Training an AI depicting Galvan’s characteristics based on his step pattern data, while at the same time not mirroring him directly but somewhat deviating from them, was one of the biggest challenges. We believe that the trained model was able to help him to extend his creativity as a dancer and inspire novel ideas in him.
“It didn’t feel like a flamenco dancer, nor even a human being. I felt like dancing with an unknown creature. I sometimes forgot the fact that I’m alone on stage.”
According to his comment after the premiere, we assume that our attempt was successful and meaningful.
As our previous show, AI DJ Project, the dance performance, “Israel & イスラエル” is a project in which we tried to enhance human creativity through intangible communication between human and AI systems.
|2019/02||Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media, Japan[YCAM]|
|2019/10||Maison de la Culture du Japon à Paris. Paris France|
Richi Owaki (YCAM), Rie Okada
Takayuki Ito (YCAM), Richi Owaki (YCAM)
Richi Owaki (YCAM), Junji Nakaue (YCAM), Pablo Pujol (Israel Galván Company)
Clarence Ng (YCAM)
Nao Tokui (Qosmo, Inc.), Miyu Hosoi (Qosmo, Inc.)
Mitsuhito Ando (YCAM)
Satoru Higa, Ryo Kanda
Kanta Horio, Alberto Boem, Keina Konno & Richi Owaki & Hoshiro Ando (YCAM), Pablo Pujol (Israel Galván Company)
Junji Nakaue (YCAM), Pedro Leon (Israel Galván Company), Mitsuhito Ando (YCAM)
Richi Owaki (YCAM), Keina Konno (YCAM)
Hoshiro Ando (YCAM)
Fumie Takahara (YCAM)
Yohei Miura (YCAM)
Rie Okada, Asumi Kitahori (YCAM)
Akiko Takeshita (YCAM)
Pilar Lopez (Israel Galván Company)
※The project was made collectively among the members above regardless of the credits.
Daichi Yamaoka & Soma Ishii (YCAM)
Momoko Aoyagi & Nanami Hashimoto & Satomi Okazaki (YCAM), Tomoko Yotsumoto (Sankai Production, LLC)
Tomoya Watanabe (YCAM)
Tasuku Mizuno (CITY LIGHTS LAW)
Kiyomi Arifuku & Yuriko Asamoto (YCAM), Rosario Gallardo (Israel Galván Company)
Pilar Lopez (Israel Galván Company)
Yamaguchi City Foundation for Cultural Promotion
Yamaguchi City, Yamaguchi City Board of Education
the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, Japan Arts Council, Embassy of Spain in Japan
Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM] & Israel Galván Company