ima koko watashi
by Chikako Kaido
Space and Lighting design
Concept: Chikako Kaido, Tetsu Saitoh
Music: Lê Quan Ninh, Gunda Gottschalk
Performance: Yoann Jouneau, Kristin Schuster, Antonio Stella, Jascha Viehstädt, Chikako Kaido
ⒸPhotos by Takaya Kobayshi / Wiebke Rompel
m i l k
by Guillaume Hulot
Choreography and Concept: Guillaume Hulot
Costume design: Marvin M'toumo
Licht design: Elana Siberski
Ballet Master: Takako Nishi
Dramaturgy: Leira Marie Leese
ⒸPhotos by Carlos Quezada
M I L K
Guillaume Hulot's piece is about his profound questions about biological and sociological identity regarding mother-child relationships. Underneath, the choreographer asks further questions, such as whether he himself, as a male person, can be a mother. This intimate, philosophical exploration of motherhood broadens the horizon of the piece on the essential discourses in today's society on queerness, gender identities, and transsexuality.
When we remember our early childhood or think about babies in general, textiles are often the material in the scene that evokes the sensuality of the mother-child relationship. Wrapped in a soft, clean fabric, a baby is well protected and the fabric not only gives the child a sense of security but also indirect skin contact and maternal warmth.
In addition, textiles are very close to people's bodies, especially in private households. In this respect, this materiality can be thought of as a metaphor for the care work in the household, which in many different cultures is predominantly done by women in a family.
The stage design for the performance is based on such thoughts, where the entire space is enclosed on three sides by a certain fabric. The color is a light shade of grey and the fabric is semi-transparent. This creates a naive, fragile world on stage.
On stage, there is an arch-shaped object that is also wrapped in the same fabric. This mystical object symbolizes on the one hand initiation rituals during the process of growing, on the other hand, it reminds us of sexuality, and this in combination with the fabric in the background, which floats in the room like a damp mist.
by Nobuko Takahara
Shinjuku-Bunka-Center, Tokyo Japan
Fotos by Daisuke Takahashi
A research project by Yoriko Maeno
Scenography in collaboration with Mikako Kura
Programming & Interactive digital art by Bileam Tschepe
Theaterhaus Berlin Mitte
O_V ("Organische Vereinigung")
Science has been built on an extreme duality. As a basic premise of natural science, we believed there is only one answer to one question. For example, biology has long thought that a species has branched off from the trunk of the tree of life along a single lineage that tracks its evolutionary path. The development of computer engineering, which deals with digital data consisting of combinations of zeros and ones, has given us the illusion that everything in the universe is computable on the same principle as a computer. In this way, our civilization has defined itself in a dualistic way as well: The "us" and the “other. This human misconception that we were in control of our environment has upset the planet's balance.
In contrast, cutting-edge science has begun to discover that we are not the only intelligent beings on the planet. We began to realize, for example, that plants in the forest think, talk, act, and sometimes even move in response to climate change. Such measures teach us that there is no single form of intelligence. Moreover, intelligence is not something that resides within an individual but instead is something that only manifests itself when multiple individuals come together and "act".
We live in an age where digital technology has permeated every corner of society. Our lives and even our thoughts are unknowingly influenced by the function of code programmed by someone else. The code controls what we can and cannot do, what we notice, and what we do not see. But what if we rethink the dawning of AI and all other digital technologies, and the existence of intelligent beings on this planet beyond humans, not as subordinate to humans, but as neighbors who can cooperate on an equal footing?
This space is a kind of laboratory. Choreographers and artists gather in one room to continue their thoughts and research. And where these individual researches encounter, an intersection is created. There, multiple codes of different natures may mix unpredictably. Just like organisms have changed their forms through encounters with others who share the environment and through the random exchange of genetic information.
by Russell Hepplewhite
Directed by Nils Braun
Stage and costume design
Puppet by Merle Smalla
Forum Neue Kunst e.V. Oldenburg
Fotos by Izabela Mitwollen
Directed by Lucy Morrell and Josh Mathieson
Stage and Costume design
Oldenburgisches Staatstheater / Rose Theatre, Kingston UK
Directed by Kevin Barz
Stage design in collaboration with Britta Leonhardt
Costume design: Britta Leonhardt
Illustration: Jan Falkenberg
by Jascha Viehstädt
"Deep. Dance" was created in 2021 by Hamburg-based choreographer Jascha Viehstädt.
It is a 60-minute choreography for three dancers created by artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence has replaced the choreographer. In this work, the physical body, which we have believed to be the home of our creativity, has surrendered its dominant position in the creative process to software.
This work gives the audience insight into the neural network. Within the piece, three dancers share this insight with the audience using their bodies, leading them to ask ethical questions about the development of artificial intelligence in today's world. For example, is it possible for artificial intelligence to develop further and acquire a "creativity" that could rival humans? If so, how should we accept or reject the emergence of such artificial intelligence?
If we look into a computer-simulated space, a code displays virtual objects at a certain height, despite putting them on the floor. Yes, there is no gravity in a virtual space. It became even more apparent when we screened an animation of AI-made choreography. The three human models in the video moved on a simulated floor surface, sometimes gliding very fast, sometimes floating slightly. The absence of gravities in space creates this vision.
To express or reproduce this absence of gravity, we came up with the idea of creating a floor made of a soft form. When a dancer steps onto the material, the surface sinks underneath. At the same time, the material rifts up their feet back. As a result, I captured the impression of a moving body, standing and floating only slightly on the elusive surface, which is different from a regular floor surface.
The artificial intelligence developed for this work captured the improvised movements of several dancers through a camera to create the choreography. However, at this time, the AI doesn't understand that the beings in front of the camera are human beings, and it knows nothing about what a "dancer" is, let alone a "human being. So instead, AI is merely reading how the points on the body move.
After taking sufficient material in this way, the AI breaks up the continuous movement into shorter sequences and analyzes which movements could follow after particular ones. This mechanism of autonomous learning by artificial intelligence is called deep learning, but we cannot share the learning process with AI. We only know that it handles and analyzes the necessary data to achieve a given goal. The AI has no idea what the observed object is.
To perceive anything without understanding the meaning, the position of the phenomenon in the world, or without even knowing the existence of meaning would be, I think, an unimaginably lonely task. Understanding is nothing but a never-ending seeking for a realm of sense that connects oneself to others. To exist is to appear in a world where someone already exists. Life is being in a rich world full of fields of meaning in which all other things are. Artificial intelligence perceives all objects without understanding them. It would mean being in eternal darkness.
I devised this stage set for the performances at Wiese e.V. in Hamburg.
by Jascha Viehstädt
This dance piece by Jascha Viehstädt is based on the musical principle of the canon and its potential as a working principle in the field of contemporary dance. This design creates a minimal, functional setting that allows the audience to observe the choreography from every angle. "Strange transparency" is how the choreographer described the character of his piece.
The constant repetition of movements performed in staggered time does indeed achieve strange transparency. Moreover, the strict instructions on the movements limit individual freedom. Yet, at the same time, the dancer's bodies seek comfort within the physically demanding repetition, and they try to adapt to the rhythm of the canon. Paradoxically, these instructions created fields of tension between all the individual bodies in the space. To make such effects maximally visible for the audience, we developed the idea of constructing a glass platform with a minimal dance floor: as a dense core of the space, which the audience as a "tableau" perceived.
There used to be a theater named Fermata, she says. She was a dancer and witnessed a legendary choreography performed in that theater, which she still remembers in her body. The small theater was in the basement, and the audience had to go down a long flight of stairs to reach it. Where it was, no one can recall anymore...
Fermata is the third corporation between Miu, a Japanese artist based in Düsseldorf, and Takaya Kobayashi. In his work, Miu weaves complex poetry into a simple spatial structure. He sets up the complex poetic narrative as a physically perceivable structure with the help of electronic technology. The challenge for the scenographer was to organize the system spatially and make it appear in the urban space where our reality and fantasy often intermingle.
This concept aims to create space and atmosphere, reminding us of a maneuver in woods and a national force behind it.
Behind the acting area, six curtains hang from the ceiling, dividing backstage from the acting area.
There are three decks on different levels behind the curtains, combined with steps. These decks create a corridor to the acting area. The audience can see this passage through if the light behind the curtains is on. The decks stand with irregular angles instead of straight lines, making a chaotic and improvised impression in space.
The painted texture on the textile wall looks like mold and also rust on iron. Mold and Rost are inspiring because both are natural phenomena, which remind us of the mysterious lows in the natural world, influencing our lives tremendously, even if our rational consciousness can't always understand them. The whole set should create an atmosphere of an abandoned human-made structure like an old factory or a basement club and symbolize the natural power and shamanistic inspiration that Macbeth gets from the three witches. The rusty boxes with patina and graffitis are helpful as containers for props and costumes. Actors can also use these boxes to make different scenes by moving them on stage.
I devised this stage set for the performances at the oldenburgisches Staatstheater and Rose Theater Kingston.
by Team Yaei
Spielraum auf zeit
with Gerburg Fuchs
by Kenta Shibasaki
A space that is a dream but has substance. It must also fulfill the opposite condition. I remember that the conceptional work for this stage set began with such a question. Three people meet in a shallow dream on a sleepless night. This room in the shared dream was the space that the Japanese choreographer based in Tokyo, Kenta Shibasaki, required for his dance piece "Sleepless Canon" as a first condition. And, just as the dancer stands on the stage, I should also stand on the scene. Physically or metaphorically. That was the second condition.
I decided to make a daily drawing based on a skin affected by a skin disease. The inked circles were always about the same diameter, depending on the length of my arm holding the ink-soaked cloth. However, the ink that flowed and bled through the circles looked like sticky bodily fluids, and the drawn circles sometimes looked like the cross-section of a sliced organ.
On a sunny day during the production, Kenta and I went out to a park in the city to draw a large version of the same circle drawing. We laid a large sheet of paper on the ground, and kneeling on it, I drew a large circle from the center, moving in a spiral way.
Sleep gives our bodies a rest. But the images that emerged from this artistic process were far from pleasurable; they were more reminiscent of pain. What I find interesting in looking back on this process is that pain also appears when accompanied by movement. Where there is no movement, there is no pain.
Physical movement related to the human body and its pain reminds me of prostration in Nepal, which the choreographer once told me. The devout Buddhists there believe that their physically exhausting and painful prayers will bring peace and tranquility to the world. It might not be so far from the sight in the dream that the audience sees in this piece. The relationship between the physical pain of exercise and a kind of spiritual liberation, and the longing for harmony in a constantly dynamic world, are subjects that I have become interested in through this work.
by Team Yaei
by Takuya Takemoto