Drawing by Katharina Dobner
“We become what we behold.
We shape our tools, and thereafter
our tools shape us.”
(John Culkin, Marshall Mcluhan)
Notes on the goals of my future music theatre projects
Instead of creating a linear narrative, I am fascinated by the idea of establishing poetic and musical spaces in which a user can move on its own, analogous to the principle of the Internet or to the form of the computer game. Entering this narrative space can possibly also change it at the same time. The art lies in taking up an artistic position despite all the freedom of the user and making it perceptible and experienceable without patronizing the user. How this works in concrete terms is a question that many artists are currently asking themselves. A community that communicates openly and helpfully and in whose ranks I feel very comfortable. You notice that you are “on to something” together, but you need each other to unlock this “something”.
The technical changes of our time are developing at a breathtaking pace. It’s hard to imagine society without the smartphone, but the iPhone has just celebrated its 10th birthday. Nevertheless, the smartphone will only have been a bridging technology. As surprisingly as it has found its way into our everyday lives, it will be replaced by smaller or even completely invisible interfaces to the digital world. The Internet is already a constant companion today and will be much more permanent and immediate tomorrow.
The change from linearity to non-linearity associated with digitalization is accompanied by a change in the perception of art and culture. Already today, the commercial market for non-linear media (computer games) is larger than the market for linear media (film). Non-linearity obviously corresponds more to our attitude to life than linearity. We lose interest in the given sequence of beginning, middle and end. We are already used to creating our own narrative within the narrative and information space of the Internet.
I am not a millenial. The Internet only broke into my life at the age of 20, but with full force. It shocked me when I noticed that people only a few years younger developed a different understanding of reality than I did. Even then I knew that this topic would become important for my artistic work. But it was only in recent years that I came up with serious artistic approaches.
I am amazed to see how right and wrong the writers, philosophers and media theorists of the 1990s were at the same time: “But now we have arrived in science fiction, and it is much stranger than anything I could ever have imagined”. That’s a sentence by William Gibson, inventor of the term ‘cyberspace’, from an interview in 2008. In fact, the triumph of smartphones was yet to come.
These feelings of wonder and amazement, of oddity and also of uncannyness, these are the feelings that drive my current work. I would like to let the audience experience these feelings through the tools of theatre, empathy and alienation (Verfremdung).
As a witness to the transformation from Brockhaus to search engine, from record store to Spotify, from city map to Google Maps, from linear to non-linear, or to speak with Wagner’s pathos: from time to space, I see myself as a mediator and unifier of these seemingly so contradictory ways of living, behaving and expression.
In addition to all justified reflections and criticism of the changes, I would like to create a momentum that enables us to shape our future. We are not hopelessly at the mercy of technical developments such as artificial intelligence. We now have the chance to shape our co-existence with the algorithms, not only socially and politically, but also artistically.
Translated from German with www.DeepL.com/Translator