How Technology influences Art - a Professorship at the Faculty of Arts Zuyd Univeristy

To be or not…

Researching the live presence in a virtual world.
Research by Woody Richardson Laurens and Peter Missotten.
A PLETA collaboration with 8 European Theatre schools

TO BE OR NOT…
Using virtualisation tools in live performance art

In this rapidly evolving technological society, ‘being live’ is slowly replaced by ‘being online’. Nowadays, it’s fair to
say that most of our human contacts are mediated through some kind of virtualizing technology. We almost phone/
email/chat/facebook more than we talk person to person.

In his theory about the speed of technology (dromology, as he calls it) the French philosopher Paul Virillio warned us
decades ago, that the fastest technology always prevails, and at the same time organises it’s catastrophe. Just unplug
the wifi router at your school and you will get a pretty good idea of what this catastrophe could feel like.

A live performance is by definition the slowest art medium we know: it’s in essence un-mediated. As such, it’s under threat of the ever speedier, virtualising media (cinema, television, gaming, internet). At the same time, it’s unique qualities become more tangible: the dirty slowness of being (a)live.

What if we infect our live performances with virtualising technologies? What if we replace some of the actors with animated 3D scans? What if we organise a live battle between the flesh and the virtual? What if we organise a virtuoso dance with the virtualising devil? Will some kind of inter-medial art form emerge, or will we just loose the battle? Will it show us something about our human condition in this age of technology?

These questions are pretty close to the best-known quote from theatre history:

to be or not…

APPLICATION FORM HERE

before beginning, after ending. the rest.
the rest is silence
famous words easily said
can we give them new meaning
in a (un-)certain time
in which the search
for an identity
seems to be the only reason for excistence
being an entity
having an identity

the performer reaches out for all the faces under the layer of his skin
eyes for seeing
eyes to look at
names
faces
voices
death fathers
mothers to sleep with
uncles to kill
revenge is my middle name
no, no
there is more between heaven and earth
skull in my hand
a beloved one floating in a river
on a painting
on a screen
on the stage
in the cloud
whispering, screaming
searching for words
for images

We ask our participating students
to quote
and make their own hamlet /ophelia
in 999 characters each

Placing individual faces /bodies/machines
in an ensemble of voices and sounds…

In this project, students work hands on with virtualising technology. In these 7 weeks, we produce a public spectacle, based on ‘Hamlet’ by Wiliam Shakespeare.
All students will be live (or playing dead) on stage. All students will individually (and before the start of the project) choose their favourite page of the play, to prove the central point of the piece: ‘to be or not to be: that’s the question’.

The resulting piece will be recorded and documented on several, virtualising media.

7 students from the performance department at Toneelacademie Maastricht
and a total of 7 students from our fellow academies
working together as a collaborative, artistic team…
(re) searching form, content, technology, stage presence, theatrical identity…

to be or not… is an in-school-project
in Maastricht - the Netherlands
7 weeks starting May 4 till June 27 2020 in the amazing city of Maastricht (NL)

coaching and project managment by Woody Richardson Laurens and Peter Missotten
This project is supported by the Professorship Technology Driven Art of the Arts Faculty Zuyd.
www.tda-3dscanning.org www.toneelacademie.nl