Residenz-Topical Section 1: Humus im Treibhaus der Daten

From the outset of their cooperation in 2004, the performance collective doublelucky have been investigating new technologies, especially the potential and the impact of digitisation. In “Dead Cat Bounce” (2005), a performance about online trading, they conducted their Wall Street stock trading transactions live on stage; in “Anonymous P.” (2014), a theatrical installation on the topic of personal privacy, they hacked their audience’s mobile phones. At Residenz, they produced “The Hairs Of Your Head Are Numbered” in 2018, a piece about bodies in the digital era, aligned to their spectators’ pulse, which was measured live. What makes their productions so distinctive is the fact that they not only talk about digital technologies but actually use them in their work. They are far less interested in the technology itself than in the question of how we use it to shape the way we live together.

The new cooperation project between Residenz and doublelucky productions will be no exception: digitisation will not be addressed in the virtual space, but in the space of the theatre. It will be an attempt to make the invisible element of digital infrastructures visible and tangible. The theatre is a space of experience – and a collective one at that – where we can reflect on and imagine the structuring of our living environment. This is possible because the theatre – unlike the internet – is a protected space.

As the events of the past season have shown, a theatre experience cannot simply be transferred online. This “Greenhouse of Data” that doublelucky productions plan to construct at Residenz will be a hybrid space that allows us to keep a distance to all things digital, so that critical observation remains possible. It is a space that will generate a temporary community – even if viewers have to remain physically separated in the worst case scenario – that can reflect upon their actions, including those in the physical world. This space will be used by the company themselves as well as by various other guests.

This algorithmic greenhouse is an installation that will grow with the audience and allow data to proliferate. An alternative ecosystem of peaceful coexistence between human and non-human entities. In the algorithmic greenhouse, data is not read but sown. It will be pollinated and shared, it will blossom, morph and finally disintegrate into humus for a new, unseen flowerage.

All who attend the “Greenhouse of Data” contribute to the proliferation. Visitors donate two or three pieces of data from their smartphones upon entering – a photo, an e-mail, a favourite song or maybe the sugar level from their health app. This data is consigned to the care and tending of the community. It sets out on an anonymous journey through Raspberry Pie, Apples and screens; it is extrapolated, cross-bred and ordered according to new systems. What emerges is not only a portrait of the community as mobile data carriers, but also an image of the capabilities of digital community. Invited guests will contribute rampant philosophical thoughts, fantasies or music to this topic.

The algorithmic greenhouse will also be the stage setting for doublelucky performance’s new installation-performance, which will premiere at Residenz and explore the topics of dissolution and resonance.
Dissolution was one of the key experiences of the year 2020. The world as we know it dissolved: social life, trade, education, relationships, artistic practice, tourism, solidarity and freedom. Perhaps we should rather say: the world as we used it. But the world that has existed for thousands of years is also dissolving, in a fragile balance with fluctuations and mutations. Solidarity and democracy are dissolving. Our concept of truth is dissolving. The notion of the individual is dissolving.
A human being is not indivisible; it consists of many parts, materials and creatures. Around two kilogrammes of microbes live inside each of us; the proportion of viral DNA in the human genome is at 8%. We live in a state of permanent exchange and vital associations with microbes, minerals, gasses, animals and other humans. The most successful system of evolution is not the survival of the fittest but symbiosis.
If it is not the strongest, not individual heroes and heroines, but rather symbioses and interwoven fabrics of creatures and matter that form the most successful model of survival, maybe it is a good thing that our view of the world – based as it is on the survival of the fittest, an attitude that made its way from biology into politics during the 20th century at the latest – is in a state of dissolution.

We dissolve and enter into resonance with everything that surrounds us, that is inside us. We surround our surroundings. As breathing creatures, we create atmosphere. We form systemic collectives. We create a space that allows us an increased perception of the prevalent experience of dissolution – but as a possible alternative rather than a doomsday scenario. We are bursting through our shells, we render ourselves sensitive and expand our world view by appreciating the agency of non-human, living matter. Plants, viruses, microbes, wood, sound, information and data streams: Welcome to the new ecosystem.

Since 2004, doublelucky productions – the team around Chris Kondek and Christiane Kühl – have been working continuously with musician Hannes Strobl and in temporary, project-based collaborations with artists from other disciplines, developing performances and installations that have toured both in Germany and internationally. They have won awards from institutions including Goethe-Institut and 3sat/ZDFtheaterkanal.
doublelucky productions are interested in the invisible infrastructures that determine our social, economic and private lives: from high frequency trading via social profiling to affective computing. In theatre spaces, they create situations that render these digital architectures visible and tangible. Currently, they are focusing on the exploration of connections with organic networks and the possibility of broadly defined interspecies communication.

www.doubleluckyproductions.org
Have a look into the garden of tangled data: click here.
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In cooperation with doublelucky productions, Berlin