Experimental theatre

Generative graphics and system development   ·   Awards: Ars Electronica Honorary Mention 2023, Reumert Special Award 2023   ·   Direction: Mikael Fock   ·   Shows: Neues Theater (Halle) 24-30 May 2024, White Hole Theater (Viborg) 25-28 Apr 2024, Highlight Delft at Theater de Veste (Delft) Feb 15 2024, Helsingborg Stadsteater (Helsingborg) 06-10 Nov 2023, Teatros del Canal (Madrid) 24-26 Mar 2023, In Kepler's Gardens at Ars Electronica (Linz) 09-13 Sep 2020, Aveny T (Copenhagen) 23 Feb - 04 Mar 2023, Welcome to Planet B at Ars Electronica (Linz) 07-10 Sep 2022, H22 at Dunkers (Helsingborg) 07-11 Jun 2022, Click AI Days at The Culture Yard (Elsinore) 06-11 Sep 2021   ·   Partners: Mikael Fock (script) , Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm (ai) , Yann Coppier (sound design) , Thorbjørn Bach Larsen (lighting 2021) , Vertigo (lighting 2022+) , Marie Reuther (actor 2024) , Luise Skov (actor 2023-2024) , Emilie Rasmussen (actor 2021-2022) , Anne Laybourn (actor 2020) , Mathias Raabye Ravn (additional script) , Nicolai von Rosen (stage tech) , Nilas Bjørn Larsen (stage tech) , Sofi Orem Skoglund (direction assistent)   ·   Producer: Mikael Fock Productions

Girl meets AI.

Shadow is a story by the famous Danish fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen in which a “clever scholar” asks his own shadow to enter the “chamber of poetry”, a place he does not dare to enter himself. After performing this service for the scholar, it returns as an all knowling entity, only to gradually take over his life, and eventually end it.

The play is loosely inspired by this story, making a parallel to our relationship with artificial intelligence (AI), and how it gradually takes over agency in our lives. The project also aims to educate the public about AI, and the ongoing data harvesting that we are all part of.

Some of the acts involve state-of-the-art dialog generating AI (GPT3/J, 2021), that engages in live improvised conversation with the audience and with the actor. The play is performed in the 4D Box, a theatre stage capable of creating mixed-reality illusions of virtual 3D objects interacting with live performers. The AI character is represented as a shape-shifting neural network, that gradually takes control of the scenography.

Behind-the-scenes presentation video (2023):

SH4DOW Harvest

“[…] The Actors’ shadow is played by the AI, which is visually projected as a flying, pixel-metallic data-harvester brain, swirling the living actor into a mesmerizing storm of images. […]”
~ Anne Middelboe Christiansen, Dagbladet Information, culture section, p. 3, March 3rd 2023, Danish trans. [source]

SH4DOW Facescan SH4DOW Vetruvian SH4DOW Game

“[…] Experienced through 3D glasses and supported by Yann Coppier’s refined sound design, the image poem now exploded into a chaotic incantation of digital noise and human mumbling, a modern sermon about weightlessness and dissolution in an unknown universe of luminous flashes of insight and torn garlands of memory. […]”
~ Me Lund, Teateravisen, Feb 27th 2023, Danish trans. [source].

“[…] This performance is completely wild. Hold on tight, because you won’t believe half of what you see is happening right in front of you. […] a skillful use of light and shadow as well as digital ingenuity. I can hardly wrap my brain around how it is possible. […]”
~ Sofie Slott, Den 4. Væg, 2023, Danish trans. [source].

“[…]The visualization and staging of the computer creates an excellent backdrop for a story about how life experiences are extracted from the human body and become building blocks for AI in a new ‘universe’ where anything is possible. […]”
~ Janek Szatkowski, Peripeti, Feb 27th 2023, [source].