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Look, here is your machine. Get in!

Serendipity Arts Virtual 2020

Curated by: Anuja Ghosalkar & Kai Tuchmann
Technical designers: Aliasger Dhariwala & Gavati Wad

“Look, here is your machine. Get in!” are the two first lines of the libretto, that Bertolt Brecht wrote 1929 for his radio play “Lindbergh’s Flight”. Six years after radio was introduced to Germany, Brecht envisioned this performance as changing established concepts of theatre, performance, embodiment and space. Brecht hoped to turn the radio from a representation of spoken words into an automaton that allows everybody to speak up. His hope failed. The days leading up to the premiere of “Lindbergh’s Flight” coincided with the World Economic Crisis and the Nazi Party later capitalized on this crisis. They discovered in the radio, the potential for causing a modern form of violence––media violence. 

The curators invited artists and scholars to document the current moment we are living through by asking them to comment on Brecht`s experiment––in particular on the intersection of society and art, and technology. Their responses will constitute a unique archive of the 269 days of the pandemic (25th of March, the first day of the lockdown to the 16th of December, the day of the project’s premiere) and its effects on the public sphere and our cultural and political life. Through this invitation the curators Ghosalkar and Tuchmann continue their exploration of theatre’s specific relationship with real events in the world, that they started with CONNECTING REALITIES last year at SAF. 

The nine works of “Look, here is your machine. Get in” are situated between discourses of technophobic pessimism and transhuman calls for enhancement. Digital technology is understood as just a necessary agent in the vital project of imagining survival. This imagination, regardless of technologies used to arrive there, is at the core, of all virtuality. The virtual appears to  be mediated through technologies, however it is not exclusively so–– it is beyond the screen and ocular experiences. It is  a modality of thought, an attitude towards our being, that always is and was in coevolution with machines and nonhuman organisms. Deleuze once spoke of the virtual, as that which is real but not actual, ideal but not abstract, symbolic but not fictional. The curators want to occupy exactly this particular understanding of the virtual with our project and the works we curate.

The inequities intrinsic to theatre will not see  elimination in the digital realm. This landscape might even reinforce existing exclusions or perhaps create new ones.

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