Ongoing performance – generative duet between a computer and a woman
Performed on Nano-dance Micro-Fest and Print Screen Festival | 2016
Humanity is getting closer by leaps and bounds, at an exponential rate, to the singular point in time when computers will catch up with the human race and dominate it, the cocoon will rise above its creator. So here too, the code is created by Savyon and it controls her. In this simulation, the computer defines completely randomly in each iteration the performance materials of each scene - words, movements, clothes, location - and Savyon carries out the commands, dances* and become. The randomness of the instructions wipes our causality. Reality is Kafkaesque, meaningless, situations arise that the human brain is unable to produce with its logic. The computer code is projected, the mechanism is exposed to the eyes of the audience, and Savyon surrenders to the computer's random instructions, fulfilling with her body the results of the computer's lottery, subject to destiny. The rejection of causality and its replacement with randomness positions Savyon as a performer in the here and now, challenging her control as a creator.
The movement is not an interpretation of the words or the emotional state and seemingly there is no interrelationship between word and movement, as they were chosen randomly by the computer. The computer "glue" them together artificially, cutting off the logical-narrative connection. There is no technological determinism here, nor artistic determinism. But in practice, when the computer's synthetic instructions pass through the dancer's performing living body, they become organic, the text flows into the movement and vice versa.
The work presents the continuum between the organized and the chaotic. The body and movement embody passion, vitality and desire. As appose to it stand the computer, the code, the software, the algorithm. Is it possible to attribute to technology feelings of satisfaction or enjoyment from relations of control and authority? The tension between the computer "will" and the performing artist’s will is always threatening under the surface. For moments the dancer resists with her body and disobeys the computer's instructions - not wearing the "correct" clothes, not speaking the "correct" text, not speaking at all, etc.
We can think of Life as a simulation. The rules of the game of life are all those facts, taboos, beliefs, mechanisms and methods that are dictated to us by society, culture, family, those that are dictated to us externally, but also those that we dictate to ourselves, especially those that are transparent to us. What is the expanded sample space? What freedom do we find in borders? How does each change of each of the parameters affect us? Do our passions and intuitions have a place? Are we satisfied with the existing boundaries or are we trying to expand them? Can we break the rules of the game?
The work Self Simulation tries to touch the futuristic moment where humanity is subjected to technology, but it is still possible to rebel, resist and question. Like technology, which is the hande made by the human race, here too - the computer code was written by the artist. So the relationship is complex and up to the test. Computers (including phones, tablets, apps, networks, etc.) are entering more and more into our lives, both in the personal sphere and in the public sphere. The futuristic situation will produce new narratives of power, control, society, community and knowledge. What is the politics of the post-humanist era? What will be human rights and what will be computer rights? What civil-legal status will machines, robots and cyborgs have? What are morality, responsibility and authority in this world? Researchers and artists are intrigued by these questions since the 19th century till today. The post-humanist aesthetic places the computer on stage, it is a performer. As such, it may collapse on real time, his performance and aesthetics are being examined and so does its relationship with the human race.
* In Hebrew, the word “generates” also means “dances”.
* This word in hebrew of “becoming” also has to do with “dance”.
This work is a development of the work "The Raffle – Script Roulette", a generative poetry work that was presented at the Tel Aviv Poetry Festival and the Projection art-code event at the Tel Aviv Artists' House.