Program / Space Festival

Pas De Deux: Robots as Our Partners

May 16  & May 18, 2019

A Pas De Deux like you have never seen before where a dancer-choreographer Alice Sheppard and a robot ‘inspired’ by Alex Reben interact to create the work.  As an introduction to robots as our avatars, Sasha Samochine of Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Visual Operations Lab takes us through the robots JPL has trekking through the solar system, from Mars to the Jupiter and we invite the audience to imagine the ways technology reflects our humanity and interrogates it.   

Samochine will demonstrate how her AR and VR creations allow scientists in collaboration with their robots to explore the unknown! Learn about the tech used to discover new worlds and propel humanity into the very outer-reaches of everything we’ve ever known.  

Thursday, May 16  & Saturday, May 18
8:30 pm & 1:00 pm
Pier 15 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94111
For Age 10-13, Age 14-17, Adults
MAX PASS or Exploratorium General Admission Ticket Required
Sasha Samochina
Collaborator Profile
Sasha Samochina

Sasha Samochina is an Immersive Visualization Producer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. She joined the team at JPL after working in New York in the fields of video and web development and in Chicago where she was a Media Producer at The Field Museum of Natural History. Currently, she works in the Ops Lab at JPL producing immersive experiences to help scientists and engineers complete their daily work and helping NASA to make space more accessible to everyone. She loves all things digital, animal, sound-emitting, cosmic and views the world through VR-colored glasses.

Photo by Lauren Crew.


Collaborator Profile
Alexander Reben

Alexander Reben is an artist and MIT trained roboticist who explores humanity through the lens of art and technology. Using “art as experiment” his work allows for the viewer to experience the future within metaphorical contexts. Alexander’s work probes the inherently human nature of the artificial. Using tools such as artificial philosophy, synthetic psychology, perceptual manipulation and technological magic, he brings to light our inseparable evolutionary entanglement to invention which has unarguably shaped our way of being.

Alice Sheppard, a multi-racial woman with tightly curled hair, smiles warmly toward the camera. Photo credit: Beverlie Lord
Collaborator Profile
Alice Sheppard

Alice Sheppard took her first dance class in order to make good on a dare; she loved moving so much that she resigned her academic professorship in order to begin a career in dance. She studied ballet and modern with Kitty Lunn and made her debut with Infinity Dance Theater. After an apprenticeship, Alice joined AXIS Dance Company where she toured nationally and taught in the company’s education and outreach programs. Since becoming an independent artist, Alice has danced in projects with Ballet Cymru, GDance, and Marc Brew in the United Kingdom. In the United States, she has worked with Full Radius Dance, Marjani Forté, MBDance, Infinity Dance Theater, and Steve Paxton. As an emerging, award-winning choreographer, Alice creates movement that challenges conventional understandings of disabled and dancing bodies. Engaging with disability arts, culture and history, Alice attends to the complex intersections of disability, gender, and race by exploring the societal and cultural significance of difference.

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ELIXIR: Virtual 1:1 v2.0, an immersive performance available June 4. Sign up to participate →