“Assembled Identity”: World Premiere

There is a rather iconic scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Miranda (played by Meryl Streep) recounts the lineage of the cerulean sweater that Andi (played by Anne Hathaway) is wearing. Beyond its being a fairly brutal dressing-down, it also outlines how avant-garde fashion influences commercial tastes. Miranda makes it clear that although Andi may feign indifference to, and not understand, avant-garde fashion, its existence is absolute, and her apathy is of no consequence to its absolute impact. Five years from now there will be a sci-fi/ethno-futuristic production that explodes onto the commercial Broadway scene. It will bring...

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Secret Cinema’s Most Recent Production: A Recreated World Of Ridley Scott’s Classic Film “Blade Runner: The Final Cut”

Creating large-scale cultural experiences in abandoned spaces, Secret Cinema fuses film, music, theatre, and installations where audiences explore ultra-immersive worlds in which fiction and reality blur. In 2007, Secret Cinema introduced site-specific, immersive cultural experiences. Breaking films–and recently music albums–into their constituent parts and marrying narratives with play-along action, Secret Cinema is a unique participatory social experience. Fueled by a desire to fill the void left by an over-saturated technological world, it invites audiences to lose themselves in serendipitous, imaginary environments that challenge the way we perceive culture and social interaction. To date, over 520,000 people have attended Secret Cinema’s...

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“Dark Dunedin: Heaven Looks On” Excavating Layers Of The Real And The Imagined

An audience assembles on the grassy margins of Prospect Park in Ōtepoti/Dunedin, New Zealand, on a late summer Sunday afternoon. Numbering twenty–and a dog–we chat, admire the view, greet friends, and wait for the promenade theatre event that marks the concrete beginning of the doubly-stranded performance project entitled Dark Dunedin: Heaven Looks On. Created by Prospect Park Productions–playwright and theatre-maker Emily Duncan, and producer H-J Kilkelly–Dark Dunedin was launched at the 2018 Dunedin Fringe Festival. The project consists of this one-off promenade theatre event as well as podcasts of three episodes of an audio play, engineered by local community...

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Musical Futures: Japanese Vocaloid Opera Arrives In Spain

Hatsune Miku, the most famous non-human pop singer in the world, will visit Spain for the first time this month. Keiichiro Shibuya and Hatsune Miku’s Vocaloid Opera The Endwill showed in Madrid’s Naves Matadero between March 22 and 24 and in L’Auditori in Barcelona on March 27th. This is in no way a traditional opera, as there are no singers, no orchestra, and no stage. Instead, all images and music are produced electronically, as is Hatsune Miku herself. Six screens will project animations in 3D, in a technological and artistic event unlike any other. All the music is produced...

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“Anæsthesia Transopera” – Interactive Transmedia Opera

In 2016 the art & science collective Dæd Baitz (Agnieszka Jelewska, Michał Krawczak, Paweł Janicki, Rafał Zapała, Michał Cichy, Exu Arin) created a concept and a prototype for an interactive environment for experimental transopera. The project was commissioned by the Polish Theatre Institute in Warsaw. The main dramaturgy was based on texts of the Russian philosopher Nikolai Fyodorov. At the end of the nineteenth century, Fyodorov created the concept of Russian Cosmism–a philosophy which literally in many parts prefigures the modern theory of transhumanism, with a deep Christian twist. In Fyodorov’s vision, all people should be resurrected and get...

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“Post-Apocalypsis”: The Ecology of Performance

The interactive installation Post-Apocalypsis was designed as part of the Polish pavilion at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space in 2015. The project was curated by Agnieszka Jelewska, who invited Michał Krawczak, Paweł Janicki, Rafał Zapała, Michał Cichy, and Jerzy Gurawski to join the work. The installation was awarded the Golden Medal for sound design. The concept of the Post-Apocalypsis installation not only fulfills the principle of the transdisciplinary creative process but is also inspired by ecological thinking about the relationships between human beings, so-called nature, and technology. Work on the installation was team-based: each participant, bringing his or...

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Humanities/Art/Technology Research Center: Combining Theatre, Art, and Engineering

The Humanities/Art/Technology Research Center was founded in 2011 at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (Poland) on the initiative of Professor Agnieszka Jelewska and Dr. Michał Krawczak. The Center is a pioneer institution in Poland doing transdisciplinary research and experimental artistic projects. The HAT Research Center cooperates with theoreticians, artists, designers, and engineers of various competencies and specializations. As a scientific-artistic hub, it initiates cutting-edge projects and research that are hard to define in a conventional range of existing artistic and academic disciplines. Golden Medal at the Prague Quadrennial In 2013 Jelewska and Krawczak curated the exhibition Transnature Is Here, which was...

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Between Panoramas And VR: What Does It Mean To Be Immersed?

Interview with Dr. Robin Curtis, professor of media studies at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg who puts herself between theory and practice with expertise both in filmmaking and in researching the history of immersion. How did you start to become more immersed in the concept and history of immersion? I was already teaching at the university when I got the opportunity to start a PhD. I was interested in autobiographical film and how it constructs a particular fictional self but claims that it is factual. It makes claims about the world and history, about a certain physical place inside history, and invites the viewer...

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The Gaze Of The Robot: Oriza Hirata’s Robot Theatre

Ten Years of Robot Theatre Directed by Oriza Hirata In Japan, the development of humanoid robots and their integration into human society has been in the forefront of research for decades. Robots are becoming a common sight in various settings. One of the biggest telecommunication companies introduced a social humanoid robot that is able to “read” the emotions from the facial expression and voice of its partner. This robot is now serial manufactured, welcoming customers at the shops, orienting foreigners at the airport arrival, as a preparation for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. For the graying generation, the everyday presence...

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“Privacy:” The Impact Of The Digital Revolution On Private Life

Inspired by the Edward Snowden case, James Graham’s Privacy shows us the consequences of living life online where everything we share can be used by governments and corporations that monitor our information without being aware of it. Written by James Graham and Josie Rourke, it was launched in London in 2014, and then it was performed in New York in 2016, with Daniel Radcliffe in the leading role. Nowadays it is performing in Mexico City starring Diego Luna and Luis Gerardo Méndez, who alternate roles, along with eight actors on stage, in a magnificent multimedia production directed by Francisco Franco,...

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Looking Within With “Attempts: Singapore”

Spoiler Alert: If you’re planning to experience the mystery and suspense of Attempts: Singapore, read only after you’ve attended the performance. “She is a terrorist, she is a cultist, she works for sex.” “Who is she?” Like a foggy recreation of a Black Mirror episode, Rei Poh’s Attempts: Singapore begins intriguingly with corporate conglomerate ARC reaching out to the audience for help. We are enrolled to assist in deciphering a databank that consists of fragmented memories of a mysterious woman named Anne, which have been found in ARC’s Artificial Intelligence system J.O.A.N. Inspired by Martin Crimp’s Attempts On Her Life, this promenade piece meshes a...

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“Black Inscription” – A New Multimedia Love Song Cycle Premieres at Prototype

“To dive we must forget the surface fuss… Ignore all surface fuss.. Ignore the surface…” –From Jump Blue, text by Hannah Silva Black Inscription, a new multimedia love song cycle to the ocean composed by the talented team of Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi, and Jeremy Flower that had its NYC premiere at the HERE Arts Center January 11, is an immersive experience of the undersea world that plunges the audience into the beauty and desolation found in the depths of our oceans. Part documentary and part rock opera, it uses videos, music, sound, and imagery to evoke a world...

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Sculptures Reflect On The Space They Occupy In “Ten Years, Please”

In 2007, visual artist Jewyo Rhii and curator Hyunjin Kim held an unusual exhibition titled Ten Years, Please, in which some visitors took one of Rhii’s pieces home with them. Rhii’s work often entailed international travel, and she couldn’t afford long-term storage for her ever-growing collection of sculptures and installations at the time. As a temporary solution, they asked willing participants to hold on to one of the objects for a decade. After that term, the artist would reclaim custody. Ten Years, Please wasn’t an auction, it was an orphanage program. The appointed “guardians” signed contracts agreeing to take care...

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Theatre Is Not Happy Any More In Crisis: The Internet and Performing Arts

It’s often stated that performing arts reflect changes in society. But how does this look when we face such major changes, changes the information society is facing with the digital transformation that is radically altering our style of communication? This is an interview about these changes with Ulf Otto, professor of Hildesheim University and author of the book Internetauftritte. How did you start to research the relationship between the internet and performing arts? When I was a teenager I was more a computer person as I grew up in the first digital wave. There was at the time a new subject...

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“One The Bear” (La Boite) New Transmedia Storytelling

In true international award-winning Black Honey Company style, One The Bear bursts on the audience. In an apocalyptic aesthetic avalanche, its stars, the story’s titular One (Candy Bowers) and her best friend Ursula (Nancy Denis), emerge from a rubbish skip. One and Ursula are bears attempting to escape a hunter. Such is the reality of their untold herstories, which form the basis of this enigmatic work. The abiding hyper-real aesthetic comes courtesy of video designer Optikal Bloc. The accompanying explosion of fluorescent color details down to not just performer glasses but even the eyelashes behind them. As always, music is at...

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Is VR the Future Of Live Performance?

What do Coldplay, Stevie Wonder, and the Imagine Dragons all have in common? The answer, and well done if you got this right, is that they have all had recent live shows broadcast in virtual reality. Music fans with VR headsets like Google Daydream or Samsung Gear VR have had the chance to feel like they were at these shows without ever having to leave their couches. Underground dance streamer Boiler Room has been experimenting with something similar for VR clubs. Earlier this year it transmitted a DJ set via headsets from Berlin, for example. We are starting to see these offerings for...

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West Coast Premiere – “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” At The Odyssey Theatre

Founded in 1969 by Artistic Director Ron Sossi, The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble is Los Angeles’ oldest 99-seat theater complex and is recognized nationally and internationally as “Los Angeles’ flagship innovation-oriented theatre and presenter of international work.”  In 1973 the Odyssey moved to West Los Angeles into a converted warehouse that hosts three theater spaces where three shows often run concurrently.  A visiting production, presented by Working Barn Productions, features the West Coast premiere of New York Times critic’s pick Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.  Written by Kevin Armento and directed by Peter Richards the play tells the story...

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Algorithm, Composition, And Metaphor

What is algorithmic theatre? For the last several years, I’ve been using the term “algorithmic theatre” to describe my projects. It’s a phrase I chose for two reasons. First, I wanted to distinguish what I was doing from “multimedia performance,” which describes work that uses video or other digital technology to open up alternate spaces for representation, or as a means to generate stage design or other effects. Second, and more importantly, I wanted to place my work within the lineage of algorithmic composition and algorithmic visual art. Those early pioneers of computer art (Manfred Mohr, Vera Molnar, Roman...

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Analog Virtual Reality Worlds of SIGNA Performance Group

Signa and Arthur Köstler are the creative directors of SIGNA, the well-known performance installation company. Their latest performance, Das Heuvolk, took place near Mannheim in Benjamin Franklin Village during the bi-annual Schillertage Festival organized by the National Theatre of Mannheim. Their productions are famous for taking place in big houses for approximately one month, and by their site-specific characteristics, they can create a sense of being in a parallel universe, where their audience can wonder around from room to room for a whole evening. During this time they can chat with the numerous cast of actors, find out the rules of their system, eat,...

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Foreign Radical: The Intimate Power of Interactivity

Please, take your laptops out of the suitcase. Liquids in a plastic bag. No belts. No shoes. Little by little, we have given up freedom, comfort, and some rights in exchange for security. Looking at the recent events, the terrorist threat, it seems reasonable. Trusting that someone is keeping us safe, we have gotten used to mindlessly going through security procedures. And yet, there is a sense of uneasiness every time you pass through a metal detector. You are being watched; you are being judged; you could be considered suspicious. Foreign Radical is a new interactive piece by the...

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