Åsa Unander-Scharin
Åsa Unander-Scharin

Åsa Unander-Scharin

Luleå University of Technology
Musical Performance
KKL Music, Media and Theatre
Department of Arts, Communication and Education
+46 (0)911 72669
K102 Piteå

Åsa Unander-Scharin (PhD) choreographer and artist researcher collaborating with dancers, musicians, programmers and robotic researchers. She holds a position as professor and deputy scientific leader of Innovative Art and Technology (Gränsöverskridande konst och teknik) at Luleå university of technology. Years 2013-15 she was member of The Committee for Artistic Research at The Swedish Research Council. Her choreographic works have been presented at festivals, art galleries and conferences in Europe, Japan, Vietnam, Canada and USA. In1998 her first robot choreography (ABB irb 1400) was awarded an honorary mention from VIDA 2.0. The Lamentations of Orpheus will be performed live at Våning3 as part of the International Science Festival Gothenburg in May 2014. Year 2003 she choreographed Elevation for the Swedish Television and the year after she started to work on a series of robotic dance works and interactive installations. In 2006 Petrushkas´ Cry received a special prize in VIDA 9.0 Madrid, and in 2008 she choreographed The Crystal Cabinet at Piteå Chamber Opera and Desire, Chaos and Geometry for The Vietnam National Opera Ballet. In the same year her doctoral thesis: “Human mechanics and soulful machines” was published. Her robotic swan Robocygne and the computer directed marionette Olimpia was premiered in the context of Opera Mecatronica 2010 and year 2011 she created the exhibition Swanlake Revisited at the Dance Museum. Recently works are Artificial Body Voices for the Swedish television, Opera Mecatronica at Swedish Royal Opera House and Rotterdam Opera Days, Robocygne inaugurating the International Tanzmesse at Deutche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf 2012, Sing the Body Electric at Swedish Theatre Biennale and Cape Town Opera, and two dance film Black and White Swan for Musica Vitae 2013-14.



Stage performances and interactive installations

Calligrammes - Concert with the Swedish Radio Choir. May 6-7, 2017
Carl Unander-Scharin, Åsa Unander-Scharin and Ludvig Elblaus (http://sverigesradio.se/sida/gruppsida.aspx?programid=5041&grupp=23497)

Himmelsk mekatronik (Celestial mechatronics) Interactiev music installations at Berwaldhllen, Stockholm Feb 24-May 7, 2017 (http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=5041&artikel=6590129)

Varesler&Ballader - Musica Vitae, Oct 15-17, 2016 (http://www.mynewsdesk.com/se/musik_i_syd/pressreleases/musica-vitae-varelser-och-ballader-1598402)

The Vocal Chorder – Interactive installation at CHI (Computer Human Interaction) Toronto, Canada April, 2014

Lasciate mi morire on Virtual Viola da Gamba, performance at Riksteatern April, 2014

Purcell on Throat for IPhone – aria and interactive music technology performed at Society for Artistic Research symposium, March, 2014

Artificial Body Voices at Studio Acusticum in Piteå 2011 in co-production with Dans i Nord/Danspoolen. A dance performance created in collaboration with the Danish-French video artist duo Epi, the composer Carl Unander-Scharin and music-remixer Klas Wahl. The performance was recorded by Swedish Television (SVT) / Frekvens Produktion AB to become broadcasted at SVT 3rd November 2012.

Swanlake Revisited – interactive installation in collaboration with the Danish-French video artist duo Epi, the composers Carl Unander-Scharin, The Dance Museum in Stockholm October 4th to 30th 2011.

Electric Body Songs - ÅUS stage director/choreographer, R1/KTH, Liszt Academy, Budapest 2014

I Sing the Body Electric  - ÅUS stage director/choreographer and part of libretto team in collaboration with Carl Unander-Scharin, University of Opera, Stockholm, Swedish Performing Arts Biennale in Jönköping and Cape Town Opera House 2013

Opera Mecatronica Live  - ÅUS stage director/choreographer, University of Opera at Royal Opera House, Stockholm 2012, Rotterdam Opera Days 2012

Olimpia – choreography for computer directed giant junk marionette developed in collaboration Magnus Lundin, first performed in the exhibition Opera Mecatronica 2010, Rotterdam Opera Days (see below 4.3) (catalogue, press cuts, TV-reportage at www.operamecatronica.com)

Robocygne – choreography for robot bird dancer developed in collaboration with Lars Asplund at Mälardalen University, Swedish Book Fair 2010, in the exhibitions Opera Mecatronica 2010 (see below 4.3) and Swanlake Revisited (see above 4.2), The Nobel Museum in Stockholm 2011, Kulturtinget in Örebro 2011, VOLT- electronica festival Uppsala Konsert & Kongress 2011, Tällberg Forum June 14th 2012, Deutche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf, 2012

The Crystal Cabinet  - ÅUS choreographer and part of libretto team, Piteå Chamber Opera, 2008

Corpus aquarium - interactive dance video screened in a plexi glass box. Since 2009 Corpus aquarium permanent exhibition at The Dance Museum, Stockholm (www.dansmuseet.nu > nyförvärv)

Desire, Chaos and Geometry – choreography for Vietnam National Opera Ballet to special commissioned music by Francesco Boschetto, Hanoi Opera House 2008 and 2009

Rintrah Roars – Argument in Burden´d Air – interactive video installation at the Swedish Dance Biennale in Umeå 2008, Clarion Hotel in Stockholm 2008 and Yokohama Dance Recollection 2009

Ombra mai fù – interactive singing cupper tree in the foyer of Studio Acusticum in Piteå 2007 and Gothenburg Opera 2008 and as part of Opera Mecatronica 2010 (see catalogue, press cuts and www.operamecatronica.com)

60.01.60 (60 min) – stage performance in collaboration with Håkan Lidbo (music), Anders Weberg (video) and Nakkna (costumes), Kulturhuset, Stockholm 2006

Hybrid, väsen och labyrinter (57 min) – stage performance in collaboration with Carl Unander-Scharin (music), Moderna dansteatern, Stockholm 2005

Petrushkas Cry (3 min) – robot puppet installation developed in collaboration with Magnus Lundin, The Dance Museum 2005, ARCO- International Art Fair, Madrid 2007, Studio Acusticum i Piteå and Moderna Dansteatern 2008, Dieselverkstan in Nacka 2008 and as part of Navigation and Opera Mecatronica

Cantos sagrados (18 min) – solo performed by Åsa Unander-Scharin in concert with Barents Chamber Choir, Luleå domkyrka and Hedvig Eleonora kyrka, Stockholm 2005

Pärlfiskarna/ The Pearl Fishers (4 min) – interactive dance and opera work, Malmö konsthall 2004, Studio Acusticum in Piteå 2007, Moderna dansteatern in Stockholm 2007, SITE/MDT c/o Telefonplan 2008 and as part of Navigation and Opera Mecatronica  2010

Orfeus Klagan/ The Lamentations of Orphus (2´50 min) solo choreography for an industrial robot at The Dance Museum 1998, Asea Brown Bovery’s in Västerås 1999, Vetenskapsfestivalen Göteborg 2014 (see www.operamecatronica.com)

Orfeus Klagan/ The Lamentations of Orphus Video version at VIDA 2,0 Madrid and Mexico City 1999, IDAT 99 Arizon State University 1999, Malmö Dansfestival 1999, Handelshögskolan, Stockholm 1999, Elpub99, Göteborg1999, Interaktiva Institute/CID/KTH Atrnode 1999, Art Movement-festivalen, Visby 1999, Italienska kulturinstitutet 1999, International Media Dance Paris 2000, Monaco Danses Dances Forum 2000, Junge hunde-festivalen i Köpenhamn 2001, Utrecht 2001 Danserotation 2001, "Improving Life - the Design of Swedish Innovations" Universeum i Mexico City 2004-05, Kvinnor Kan-konferens 2007, Norbottensakademien 2007, Yokohama Dance Collection 2009 and as part of Opera mecatronica 2010,

Petrusjka (34 min)  – stage performance in collaboration with the pianist Roland Pöntinen playing Stravinsky at Dansens hus, Stockholm 2003

Des pas sur la neige (33 min) – stage performance in collaboration with the pianist Roland Pöntinen playing Debussy at Dansens hus, Stockholm 2003

Qivittoq (30 min)– live-media stage performance performed by Åsa Unander-Scharin , Moderna Dansteatern, Stockholm 2002

Circles in hypercube (17 min) – stage performance Moderna Dansteatern, Stockholm 2002, Kulturhuset, Stockholm 2002, Huddinge 2005

Bird sketches (12 min) – dance solo performed by Åsa Unander-Scharin to music by Makoto Shinohara performed by Kerstin Frödin, Pustervik Theatre in Gotheburg 2001, the Dance Museum in Stockholm 2002, ELD-lab 2004, Mälardalen university 2005

Tanke Mönster och Tomrum (ca 60 min) – stage performance, Dansstationen, Malmö 2000, Dansescenen, Copenhagen 2000, Moderna dansteatern. Stockholm 2001

Dans Dj:s (27 min) – stage performance, Västerås Dance Festival, SALTO! Festival in Malmö, Hässeleholm, Kristianstad, Oxie and Hälsningland Dance festival in Hudiksvall, Ljusdal, Bollnäs and Söderhamn, 2003, Stockholm Arts & Science festival at Kulturhuset and Zebra-dans/Rosenlundsteatern, Stockholm 2002

Orfeusperspektivet (55 min) - performance in collaboration with barock Ensemble Fortezza, Växjö Concert Hall 1999, Vilnius Dance Festival 2000, Galleri Forum, Stockholm 2001, The Dance Museum, Stockholm 2002

PersonNummerDanser (Security Number Dances) – interactive screen dance, The Dance Museum 1998, Malmö Dance Festival 1999, Handelshögskolan 1999, Moderna dansteatern 2001

 Åtrå Kaos och Geometri (26 min) – site specific performance at Skulpturens hus, part of Stockholm Culture Capital 1998.

... entendre encore ... (30 min) – stage performance, Dansens Hus, Stockholm 1996, Moderna Dansteatern, Stockholm 1996, Dansstationen, Malmö 1996

Nobel Banquet - sitespecific choreography at Stockholm City House commissioned by the Nobel Prize Foundation 1995

Spelsinnetur/ Rörelsemelodier (á 1-3 min) choreographic installations performed by five dancers, Dansens Hus 1994, Galleri Ragnar Pers i Gärsnäs 1995, Vetenskapsfestivalen Stockholms Universitet 1998, Brommaplan, Skulpturens Hus, Kulturhuvudstad´98, Nationalstadsparken 1998, Naturhistoriska Riksmuseets 1999, Akademiska Forum 1999

Pumpgropen  (50 min)  - stage performance, Dansens Hus, Stockholm 1992, Fakiren, Malmö 1994, Turku Dance Festival, Finland 1994, Dansescenen, Copenhagen 1994


Opera director/ choreographer


Byrgitta – choreographer ÅUS, music by Carl Unander-Scharin, director Karl Dunér, Vadstena Academy 2003

Tokfursten - choreographer, ÅUS music by Carl Unander-Scharin director Nils Spangenberg at Vadstena Academy 1996 and 1998

Girello – choreographer ÅUS, marionett barock opera by R. Kaiser at Vadstena Academy 1991

Messalina by C. Pallavicino, - choreographer ÅUS, director Nils Spangenberg at Vadstena Academy 1989.

Claudius  - choreographer ÅUS director Åsa Melldahl, Vadstena Academy 1989


Exphibitions including several of the choreographic installations

Opera Mecatronica – Reaktorhallen/ R1 KTH Experimental stage (Royal Institute of technology) Stockholm 2010, Västerås Dance Festival 2011, Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm and Rotterdam Opera Dagen. May 2012 www.operamecatronica.com

Navigation – Malmö Konsthall 2004, The Dance Museum in Stockholm, at art galleries and museums in Eskilstuna, Skellefteå, Örebro 2005, Hudiksvall, Västerås and Luleå 2006, Piteå 2007


Dance films

Svansjön, Video/animation/film for Chamber orchestra version of Tjajkovskij’s music, Musica Vitae, Växjö, Motala 2013 and Malmö 2014

Artificial Body Voices by Swedish Television (SVT)/ Frekvens Produktion AB broadcasted at SVT 3rd Nov 2012.

Olimpia – video version of the junk marionette (described above) in collaboration with Kersti Grunditz, 2011

Robocygne – video version of the dancing robot bird (described above) in collaboration with Kersti Grunditz, 2011

03.01.03 – in collaboration with Dramatiska institutet, Stockholm 2010

Elevation (8 min) – choreographer of dance film produced by the Swedish Television 2003

Possente Spirto (4´50 min) – video dancer and computer animated dancers in film for Internet distribution at Web Stage 1998, Veckans länk kulturnät Sverige, International Dance and Technology conference/festival, Arizona State University 1999, Malmö Dance festival 1999, Handelshögskolan in Stockholm 1999, Elpub99, Gotheburg1999, Interactive Institute/CID/KTH Artnode 1999, Italienska kulturinstitutet 1999, Monaco Dance Forum 2000, Junge hunde-festival 2001, Utrecht 2001 Danserotation, 13 cities in Denmark 2001, Kvinnor Kan konferens 2007, Studio Acusticum i Piteå 2008 (see www.operamecatronica.com)



VIDA 2.0/ Fundación Telefónica Art & Artificial Life International Competition 1999, Honorary mention for Orfeus klagan with the motivation:

”An installation whose compelling aesthetic relies on the sophistication of its principal element, an industrial robot whose choreographed movement are attuned to music from Monteverdis L’Orfeo. A beautifully executed metaphor for a-life, that really does capture our human projections on to machines in an exquisite way. The robot is not autonomous in its environment, in fact it is very visibly controlled and so it makes an ironic twist on a familiar cultural interdependence between choreographer and dancer. It implies an interesting relational equality between human and robot, so although as an image it reminds of the famous pixar luxor lamp, it acquires its lifelikeness in a more subtle way.”


VIDA 9.0 Premio del Publico for Petrushka’s Cry from Fundación Telefónica Art & Artificial Life International Competition 2006/ ARCO International Art Fair in Madrid 2007, with the motivation:

“Attributing emotions to inorganic beings is an archaic human ploy seen in the long history of puppets and effigies. The story of Petrouchka’s unrequited love for the Ballerina transfers this ancient fantasy to the realm of today’s interactive automata. In Asa Unander-Scharin’s installation, the audience literally winds up the Ballerina with a crank handle, and her pirouetting vertical figure releases magnetic signals that drive Petrouchka’s computer choreographed movements and his falling tears, while controlling the electroacoustic remix of Stravinsky’s piano score. The Motographicon choreographic processing programme, of which the artist is a co-developer, is subtly used to maximise the affective qualities of Petrouchka’s gestures: he reaches out to the ballerina, straightens up hopefully, then sighs and slumps, resigned to his limits. The puppet has been built to allow these emotionally communicative postures to be emphasised, through fine adjustments of spine, head and arm movements. Whereas puppets described in Heinrich Von Kleist’s famous text are “not afflicted with the inertia of matter”, this figure is poignantly afflicted with the emotional and mechanical hold of the obliviously pirouetting ballerina. Gravity is manifest as the fatal attraction exerted on Petrouchka by the indifferent dancer, and as the weight of the doomed puppet’s feelings, its tears helplessly marking time like a metronome.”


Stockholm City Culture Prize 1994


Artistic output

03.01.03 (2010)

Tre dansfilmer à en minut
Unander-Scharin. Å
Conference paper

Activity: Human Mechanics and Soulful Machines (2009)

Unander-Scharin. Å
Paper presented at : Dance and new media : 10/10/2009 - 10/10/2009
Conference paper

Activity: La Robot-Cygne (2009)

Choreographic reflections on dancing through a mechatronical double
Unander-Scharin. Å
Paper presented at : Reflection, Relevance, Responsability : 24/09/2009 - 24/09/2009
Conference paper

Activity: Robocygne (2011)

Unander-Scharin. Å
Paper presented at : Robocygne : 09/03/2011