Reading the press release of last week's live performance Dancing at the Edge of the World followed by a Q&A, more than a few question marks popped in my head.
The performance, developed by REPLICA and their collaborators during an artistic research phase, was said to be a "[...] ballad of humans and machines.", a "[...]work-in-progress that shows a semantic sonification of movement as synthetic voice", "The choreography of the piece becomes a generation of acoustic traces in space [...]". Although these exemplary passages piqued my interest, I simply could not imagine the slightest thing about it, I lacked images in my head, which made me wait even more anxiously for Thursday evening.
The evening started with a welcome by Ewelina Dobrzalski from Hybrid Platform and an introduction of the project and the collaborators by Diana Serbanescu, the co-founder of REPLICA. Diana aka Neranti herself has a dual background in computer science and the performing arts, which explains her primary motivation within the project to contextualize artificial intelligence and performative arts.
At the moment, the potential of many technologies is not fully exploited, technology is just running in the background of some screen, while it can do so much more. Diana Serbanescu believes that there is a radical potential in the way we act with technologies and artificial intelligence. That's why she explores questions like, "Who are we talking to when we talk to a system like Alexa?", "How is the system constructed in the background?" Performing arts, she says, is able to confront such questions through a variety of methods.
While the beginning of the video shows the sensors being attached to the body as well as visualizes how they work, these first 10 minutes or so build a strange tension in the viewer. Minute by minute, it becomes clearer what might be possible through Mika Satomi's costume and interaction design.
The ensuing 20 minutes clarify most of the popped questions in my mind. In fact, the performance is exactly what the text promises, only you have to have seen how the interdisciplinary dancers – between artistic practice, technology, theater, poetics, anthropogy, and politics-interact with each other and with technology on the digital stage to understand it.
For re-watching, the recording of the performance (due to Corona, everything could unfortunately only take place online) and the Q&A afterwards will be available until the weekend. For the full development of the unique sound of kling klang klong we recommend the use of headphones - have fun!