Focal-point Theater and Digital Media @Ars Electronica 2017
Given the impact of digitization on the performing arts – and not only on experimental performances but also on traditional theaters and opera houses – the Ars Electronica Festival this year is featuring an extensive program that will approach this matter in very practical terms. The focal-point Theater and Digital Media showcases a broad spectrum of projects and works where digital media meet the theater. It is hosting encounters of traditional institutions such as Landestheater Linz and experimental performances, including VR projects and experiments in storytelling and social interaction.
A new cooperation of Ars Electronica and the European Theatre Convention
In cooperation with the European Theatre Convention, Ars Electronica is also staging its first international network get-together and think-tank focused on the interaction of digital media and theatrical performance. The Theater and Digital Media Network Meeting (10 September) brings together theater makers, digital artists, and representatives from the technology industry to discuss the reciprocal interest of these art fields and network on a professional level. Presentations and table talks will cover a wide range of topics that come along with the meeting of theater, performance and digital media. Speakers include Kay Voges, artistic director of Schauspiel Dortmund and one of the most digitally innovative directors in European public theaters, architect Uwe Rieger and choreographer Carol Brown (Auckland), on “Motion Capture, Theatre, Architecture and the Moving Body” and Thomas Jelinek, media artist and performer based in Vienna, with his project Opera of Entropy:
“In a world of discontinuation and highly contingent problems, which seems to be an unreasonable and excessive demand to our political systems, societies and individuals, we started the research on the entropy as a trigger to understand present processes.”
Theater and Digital Media
Theater has always been a place of resistance and critical thinking. It is more than obvious to not only ask what theater can learn form technlogy, but even more so vice versa. As our colleagues from Ars Electronica put it so precisely: “The theater is said by many to absolutely epitomize analog art—conveyed exclusively by human actors and their performances. Nevertheless, the theater has actually always been a forerunner in experimentation with new technologies, trying out new forms of storytelling and on-stage performance. In light of digital and interactive media’s massive permeation of everyday life and the important roles that Facebook et al. now play in social and cultural life, we’re now opening a new chapter in the shared interests of the performative and media art scenes, whereby this common interest goes far beyond video or projection mapping and stage design. The latest hype surrounding virtual reality and augmented reality has not only brought forth a new generation of gaming gadgets; it has also attracted the attention of theatrical producers who have recognized this development’s huge narrative and performative potential. Conversely, theatrical expertise is providing valuable stimulation for the design of new technologies like social robots, digital assistants, chatbots, autonomous systems, learning machines and, by no means least of all, artificial intelligences.”
The Memories of Borderline, Kay Voges and CyberRäuber