In contemplating the intersection of theatre and technology, one finds oneself standing on the precipice of an extraordinary journey. It is a convergence that promises to propel the boundaries of human creativity beyond their current confines, ushering us into a realm where the potential for immersive exploration knows no bounds. This is not merely a fantastical vision; the fusion of theatre and technology has the potential to dissolve barriers of time, space, and physicality.
We are trying to explore the exciting intersection of theatre and technology, revealing the reasons why this sphere is now a heaven of unprecedented freedom, even if these remarkable changes have gone largely unnoticed by the masses.
The collision of theatre and technology heralds the advent of immersive storytelling experiences that transcend the limitations of the stage. We live in a time of possibilities where virtual and augmented reality blend perfectly with the creative skill of playwrights, directors and actors. A time when we are looking for new models of creation – co-creation, collective creation. A time of Big Questions in which GPT still cannot provide any answers
New meanings given to the dramatic materials that seemed to be an indestructible foundation seems to turn into a factory where a huge crane destroys every brick to the rhythm of a funeral song that the mantra repeats, WE NEED NEW FORMS and MEANINGS.
THE BUILDERS create new conceptual, virtual realities, looking for material for the construction of the future, which apparently has not yet been discovered. And until the magical material has not yet appeared, we are satisfied with stitch up, remaining permanently dissatisfied with the result, but dreaming of probabilities. In this way, both the artist and the public are in a permanent pilgrimage of vertigo realities
Despite facing criticism from multiple perspectives, technocentrism remains the prevailing paradigm for understanding the nature of existence and still the dominant way of describing reality. Although apparently it seems that the theatre remained and somehow remains as a development following the technological evolution, the reality proves the opposite.
Throughout history, both visual art and theatre have performed incredible experiments on the basis of which technologies, tactile, imaginative, sensory, olfactory worlds and universes have been developed today and will continue to be developed.
The Techno Pessimists and a multitude of nostalgic individuals condemn the integration of Technology in Art, accusing it of deliberately extinguishing the genuine allure of live performances in the performing arts.
The theatre remains a sanctuary for those who cherish the authenticity of real-time experiences. It appears that the introduction of technology into modern theatrical practices diminishes a certain aspect of vivacity, almost mediating the presence of the audience.
However, it is evident that without technology, the theatre would struggle to keep pace with contemporary society and captivate today’s viewers
In this case, why does the theatre need digital technologies and new media?
As the very essence and manifestation of existence undergoes transformation, encompassing a metamorphosis in its underlying systems and modes, the Theatre (which is primarily a form of communication), a profound medium of human expression, resonates with the shifting paradigms, delicately moulding itself to harmonize with the newly nurtured milieu of mankind’s dwelling place. Just like fish rely on water to survive, the theatre has embraced technology as oxygen tanks that replace air.
The origins of digital performance can be said to date back to the 1960s and 1970s when artists began experimenting with computer-generated visuals and sounds. With the advent of mainframe computers and advanced programming languages, artists like Nam June Paik and John Cage started incorporating electronic elements into their performances. Paik, for instance, used video synthesizers and manipulated televisions to create visually stunning live art pieces.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the development of personal computers and affordable software opened up new opportunities for digital performances. Artists started using digital tools to create interactive installations, multimedia performances, and virtual realities. One notable example from this time is Laurie Anderson, who combined music, spoken word, and visuals in her performance pieces, often employing early forms of virtual reality technology and also pioneering the first experience that re-born in a todays VR experiences
The rise of the internet in the late 1990s and early 2000s marked a significant turning point in the evolution of digital performance. Artists began exploring the possibilities of online platforms and live streaming to connect with a global audience. This period saw the emergence of online-based performances, webcams, and multi-user virtual environments. Artists started to use, integrate, adapt various digital technologies to incorporate body modification, virtual avatars, and cyborg aesthetics into their performances.
All this technological innovations have brought the art of performance and the Theatre to the role of becoming a fertile ground for the genesis of new experiences and unique realities.
This fusion between Technology and Theatre has initiated a remarkable revolution in the subtle intricacies of our senses of perception, altering the algorithms that govern our expressions and perceptions through various artistic forms.
Consequently, it has redefined the dynamic between the observer and the performer, or rather, between the Audience and the actor. Furthermore, it has blurred the once-distinct demarcations that distinguished reality from its digital counterparts, merging them in an creative symbiosis a dichotomy between the material and the virtual.
New tendencies and new Vision in theatre
Performative art utilizes various technologies to captivate the interest of a sophisticated audience in the age of new media. These advancements allow for the creation of visually striking performances that seamlessly integrate theatre, music, dance, into dynamic multimedia projects. What specific technologies are employed to engage and enthral the discerning viewer?
A new way for the public to experience art: This transformative technology has won recognition and admiration at prestigious events such as the Cannes Film Festival, Sundance, SXSW, the Venice Biennale and NewImagesFestival.
What can a helmet or glasses change?
Throughout the annals of history, the constant evolution of technological advancements has indelibly shaped the very essence of artistic creation and consumption. From the majestic Renaissance, where the exploration of perspective and depth breathed life into painting, to the advent of cinema and the introduction of mind-bending special effects, each novel development has consistently pushed the boundaries of artistic expression to new heights.
Now, we find ourselves standing on the precipice of a profound paradigm shift with the emergence of virtual reality. This ground-breaking medium possesses an unprecedented capacity to transport individuals into uncharted realms, effectively emancipating them from the shackles of the physical world and temporal constraints. In this wondrous new realm, one has the extraordinary ability to assume the roles of the protagonists, transcending the mere realm of perception and venturing into the vast terrain of empathy.
Photo-story: In the 1930s a story by science fiction writer Stanley G. Weinbaum (Pygmalion’s Spectacles) contains the idea of a pair of goggles that let the wearer experience a fictional world through holographics, smell, taste and touch. In hindsight the experience Weinbaum describes for those wearing the goggles are uncannily like the modern and emerging experience of virtual reality, making him a true visionary of the field.
In this new theatrical-conventional or non-conventional spaces, converge, allowing individuals to embrace the mantle of a resplendent hero, freely traversing the stage and delving into the intricate tapestry of details as they see fit. Yet, virtual reality’s most salient feature lies in its unparalleled ability to venture deep into the inner psyche of characters. Through the harnessing of advanced VR technologies, spectators are afforded the sublime opportunity to peruse the innermost thoughts, desires, and fantasies of these characters, essentially crafting a “second plot” that magnifies comprehension of the narrative at hand.
This holistic Immersive Experience bestows upon the beholder a truly unparalleled perspective, intensifying their connection to historical figures and unearthing the very essence of the creator’s intentions. In finality, XR stands poised to ascend as an indomitable force within the realm of art and entertainment. It assumes the mantle of a formidable challenger to the traditional modes of storytelling and exhibition, availing artists a brand-new medium through which they may effectively communicate their visionary quests.
Simultaneously, it provides audiences with a novel model of experiencing artistic endeavours, expanding the horizons of perception and enabling the analysis of visual experiences from multifarious angles, multi-scenarios, multi-visions as they are engrossed in a mélange of perception systems. Yet, even as virtual reality valiantly surmounts the confines of the physical dimension, one cannot ignore the persisting presence of nonsense, banality, and uninspired repetitions in some experiences.
These artistic endeavours, endeavouring to assimilate outdated forms into this uncharted domain, raise an introspective query for creators in the realm of VR.
Despite the infinite possibilities at their disposal, why does the human mind instinctively seek to impose limitations upon the boundless?
Perhaps it is incumbent upon the artist to birth their creations in a form hitherto unidentified, one that stretches beyond even the wildest recesses of imagination. Only then can we begin to unlock the true potential of this fantastical realm of dreams and aspirations.
AR in Theatre
Integration of AR in theatre through gadget applications has revolutionized the way performances are experienced. It provides audiences with visually stunning enhancements, comprehensive information, and an immersive reality that complements the live performance.
The integration of AR in theatre signifies the breaking down of barriers between reality and the digital realm. It blurs the lines between what is physically present and what is digitally created, allowing for an intermingling of the two. These challenges traditional notions of what constitutes a theatrical experience and opens up new possibilities for creativity and storytelling.
By utilizing AR technology, audiences can witness a scene come to life by simply pointing their gadget at the stage. They can see updated scenery and characters seamlessly blending with the live performance, creating a truly immersive experience. This application not only adds a layer of visual depth to the production but also allows for real-time visual effects and enhancements that elevate the overall impact of the performance.
With AR applications on their gadgets, viewers can now access comprehensive explanations of the plot, detailed descriptions of the characters, and even historical sketches related to the performance. This not only enhances the understanding of the story but also creates a more engaging and interactive experience for the audience.
One of the most remarkable aspects of AR in theatre is that it transforms an ordinary smartphone or tablet into a window leading to an entirely different reality. No longer restricted to VR glasses, audiences can use their personal gadgets to immerse themselves in a world that seamlessly combines the live performance with digitally enhanced elements. This democratization of AR technology makes it accessible to a wider audience, without the need for expensive equipment or additional accessories but also offer the possibility to present the unveiled facts or story .
For example: A former war correspondent and photojournalist, Karim Ben Khelifa has been experimenting with new ways of practicing journalism, using emerging media as a way to engage audiences. After the success of VR experience The Enemy, Karim Ben Khelifa teams up once again with Lucid Reality’s executive producer Chloé Jarry. This time, using AR, you can witness the human cost that goes into producing smartphones in five chapters – 3 AR and 2 video materials.
This melding of the physical and digital realms challenges traditional notions of reality and allows for a more interactive and engaging form of storytelling. So next time you attend a theatre production, don’t forget to bring your gadget and prepare to be transported to a world where reality and imagination seamlessly intertwine.
The involvement of the public and the public space was and is of undeniable importance in the history of the evolution of art forms. From the Archaic Theatre to XR Entertainment, these forms sometimes become a place of representation, sometimes a place of collective mediation, a form of campaigns and methods of direct and indirect promotion. All of this mix allows people to explore the city, the culture, the social in ways that were previously unimaginable creating, in essence, a mix of dimensions with mixes of different values.
These new forms of representation and expression in art are crucial because they give us new perspectives and a contemporary lens through which we can interpret and respond to our present and future world. In this context, the city itself can be transformed into an experiential environment, offering infinite possibilities of creative potential.
To facilitate this creative process, Psychic VR Lab developed the STYLY Platform, which serves as a comprehensive solution for creating, publishing and sharing content.
We allow ourselves to believe and hope that the involvement of the public and the integration of public spaces in new forms of art, such as City XR Entertainment, can lead to new forms of interaction on a different level
Platforms like STYLY further facilitate this process by providing artists with affordable tools to engage with this emerging medium and distribute their creations widely.
ROBO-ACTORS ON THE RISE: THE FUTURE OF PERFORMANCES
The emergence of robots replacing human actors in theatre has sparked both excitement and controversy within the performing arts community. This innovative phenomenon, driven by technological advancements, raises intriguing questions about the definition of acting and the boundaries of human creativity.
They can withstand extreme physical demands, enabling them to perform complex acrobatics or challenging choreography with ease. Robotic actors bring entirely new possibilities to the stage. The incorporation of robots also introduces a fascinating dynamic between humans and machines on stage. By blurring the line between artificial intelligence and human talent, theatre productions can explore the intricate relationship between humans and technology, offering thought-provoking narratives and raising ethical questions about the future of artificial intelligence.
The presence of robots challenges traditional notions of what it means to be an actor and the role of the human performer in the storytelling process.
Without a doubt, one of the examples is the German-Swiss project known as the “Rimini Protocol,” which is based on the theory of the “Uncanny Valley.”
The “Uncanny Valley” effect is a fascinating concept that suggests people may feel repulsed by robots that closely resemble humans in appearance and behaviour.
At the heart of this captivating performance is German writer Thomas Melle, who takes centre stage, delivering a thought-provoking lecture that challenges the audience’s perception of human identity. Melle, however, is not a mere human but rather an android, complete with wires protruding from the back of his head and exhibiting jerky movements. Intriguingly, his foot even has the ability to rotate a complete 360 degrees, truly emphasizing his android nature.
The importance of “Uncanny Valley” one of the first experiments with android, lies in its exploration of theory project team try to developed the hypothesis suggests that as robots become increasingly human-like, there is a point at which people are no longer intrigued or captivated by their resemblance but instead feel a deep aversion towards them. By incorporating this theory into the play, Rimini Protokoll aims to shed light on the complex relationship between humans and robots.
However, the use of robots in theatre is not without its critics. Some argue that the infusion of technology compromises the authenticity and emotional depth that only human actors can provide. Acting is a craft that involves deep emotional engagement and the ability to connect with audiences on a visceral level. Robots, on the other hand, lack the capacity to convey complex emotions or respond spontaneously to unpredictable events on stage, leading to a potential loss of genuine connection between performers and spectators.
Furthermore, there are concerns about the impact this phenomenon may have on human actors. As robots become more advanced and capable, there is a fear that human performers may be replaced, leading to a decline in job opportunities and the preservation of the art form. This raises important ethical and labour-related questions within the industry.
Despite these concerns, the use of robots in theatre presents an exciting frontier for artistic exploration and experimentation. It challenges traditional boundaries, ignites the imagination, and offers the potential for groundbreaking performances.
The implementation of artificial intelligence and robotics in theatre demands a re-evaluation of our understanding of acting and what it means to be a performer. Ultimately, the presence of robots in theatre is an intriguing and evolving phenomenon that will continue to shape the future of the performing arts.
D technology allows you to depict complex or abstract concepts in a more tangible and accessible way. Concepts such as time travel, fantasy creatures, or alternate realities can be brought to life on stage using Immersive Projections or Holographic Displays.
This opens up limitless creative opportunities for directors, choreographers and designers to explore and present their artistic visions in innovative and exciting ways. In addition to improving the visual aspect of a performance, 3D technology also plays an important role in improving the technical and logistical aspects of a theatrical production. It offers practical solutions for creating complex and dynamic scenery without the need to physically construct and move large scenery. This can significantly reduce the time, costs, and logistical constraints associated with traditional stagecraft. In addition, the ability to digitally manipulate and control various visual elements provides greater accuracy and control over the production as a whole, which leads to a smoother and more refined execution.
The use of stereoscopic imagery, the basis for 3D technology, dates back to the 19th century. In the late 1800s, the invention of stereoscope (pioneered by Professor Charles Wheatstone FRS in 1838) allowed viewers to perceive a three-dimensional image by presenting two slightly different perspectives to each eye. This groundbreaking innovation laid the foundation for the future advancements in 3D technology.
The introduction of 3D technologies has revolutionized the world of theatre, captivating not only the audience but also winning over actors and directors. By creating a virtual environment on stage, it has unlocked boundless possibilities for imagination and creative exploration. Gone are the days of cumbersome props and elaborate set designs. Through the utilization of modelling and infrared sensors, a mesmerizing three-dimensional display of bustling city streets, majestic medieval castles, and epic military battles can be effortlessly conjured on an otherwise empty stage.
This interplay between physical and virtual elements adds layers of depth and complexity to the storytelling, engaging the audience on multiple sensory levels. This evolution in storytelling techniques ensures that theatre remains relevant and captivating in the digital age.
The relentless march of time assures us that the inexhaustible roster of technologies shall persist, ceaselessly employed in the domains where the Thalia and Melpomene of yesteryear and the nascent deity of tomorrow converge, refining their ultimate objectives. Yet amidst the ceaseless flux of alterations, adaptations, veritable truths and deceitful guises, the paradoxes inherent in human communication assume fresh exigencies.
Perchance the progenitors of contemporary theatrical forms and manifestations can be compared with that youthful Leonardo, diligently labouring within the sanctum of Andrea del Verrocchio’s atelier. Like the renowned polymath, they strive to delve into the labyrinthine depths of the human anatomy, seeking to depict something intangible, beyond the confines of mere visual perception.
In this mix of art and technology, we see the emergence of fresh and unique environments. The master of reality merges with the realm of imagination as the boundaries that previously limited the artist’s creativity are destroyed.
But let us not forget, dear Techvangart’s reader, that these awe-inspiring mechanisms were conceived within the fertile minds of visionaries back in the early 1900s. (although we would also have something to learn from the optical illusions of the post renaissance) Their remarkable concepts dared to challenge the conventional norms of artistic expression, seamlessly blending innovation and imagination. However, it is a tragic irony that some of these ground-breaking ideas were fated to be lost in the sands of time, while others met their untimely demise or were locked away in secret archives, awaiting their eventual resurrection.
In our future material, we will deepen the historical parallelism of the innovations that are being experienced by creators today. We will explore its origins, its impact on different industries and sectors and the opportunities it can generate. So, as the curtains draw near, and the final act of this captivating performance commences, let us applaud the relentless pursuit of progress in all its curious absurdities. For innovation, like life itself, is an enigmatic tapestry woven with both tragedy and comedy, and we, the spectators, are granted the privilege of laughing and pondering.