The aim of this series is to reflect on the cultural necessity, and relevance of experiments, and aesthetics in combining theatre and digitality, grounded in the performativity of digital cultures, as performing AI, data-politics, or techno-human co-operation. The series is built out of 3 formats: “Inquiring” brings together impactful personalities from media studies and cultural studies with theatre artists, in order to exchange about the aesthetics, and politics of digital cultures. “Let’s talk” presents the work of impactful artists in performing digitality as a starting point for debates with scholars from the humanities on important topics of digital cultures. The discussions refer among others to: AI, posthumanisation, platform- and data- capitalism, critique, or postcolonial worldbuilding. “Fanny Cyberton’s Lecture Performances” unfolds the discursive and technological landscape of digital cultures from the point of view of the year 2043, praising excessively the reputed benefits of the politics and regimes of techno-human co-operation in an upcoming, allegedly better society.

This episode within the series “Thinking about Performing Digitality” is part of “Fanny Cyberton’s Lecture Performances”. Fanny Cyberton pretends to be a consultant for digital performances, coming from the year 2043. She is performing with her desperate avatar Fanny Cybertron.

In a performed keynote, by Martina Leeker, entitled “Distant and Resilient Futures”, Fanny Cyberton unfolds the supposed advantages of our future in distant socialising, and in politics of resilience, which means to adapt to unforeseeable and uncontrollable emerging crises, instead of solving the problems they come from. The aim of this project is to enable a reflection on the presence of digital cultures by hyper-affirmating their technological conditions and political effects.

First appearance in Symposium “Blend and bleed. This is an invitation to conspire
Concept and curated by: Carina Erdmann
LUCA School of Arts, Belgium
Day 8, 9 May 2021, „And what about those who prefer not to appear*“
With: Simon Asencio, performing “Jessica* in conversation with Simon Asencio*”, and Martina Leeker, performing a Keynote by Fanny Cybert(r)on

In a conversation, Kay Voges, director, head of the Volkstheater Wien, founding director of the Academy Theatre and Digitality, and Claus Pias, media scholar and media historian, meet for the first time to discuss the question: “What do we mean when we talk about digitality?”. The discussion focuses on cultural changes through digitality and the role that theatre and performance play in it. The history of digitisation since the 1950s is discussed as well as the tasks of theatre in dealing with digital cultures after the pandemic surge of digitisation. The open exchange between media studies and theatre art proves to be particularly fruitful, as it gives rise to new syntheses for media studies research and theatre art. The motto is: Enjoy Complexity!

Devices equipped with AI, being able to collect data and process them with algorithms, are building our cultures in a large sense, namely: our conditions of life. They define what we are addressing, or what we know and understand by choosing and sorting data. They configure how we communicate, and how we organize society, economy, and politics. This power makes, that technical things and humans are today interdependently entangled; it is about so-called techno-human agencies, or assemblages. It is obvious that it becomes essential to understand how AIs function, which agencies they have – or which we attach to them discursively -, and which agency and influence humans have. Therefore our episode on: Performing AI asks for the – operative – performances of AI and how these perform humans, and vice versa, how humans make AI perform, and perform it.
An import field to go more deeply and concretely into “Performing AI” is firstly biased programming, dealing with the prejudices, which humans put into algorithmic processing, what leads to discrimination and segregation. The second domain for studying “Performing AI” are the Arts, as they play around with AI, looking for the options of resistance and intervention, unfolding human agencies in the situation of being performed by AI, and looking for other, more equal models of AI and techno-human agencies.

In this episode the topic of DIGITAL LIVENESS is unfolded, which connects the physical and the virtual.